The National Election Committee yesterday revealed locations in Phnom Penh that political parties will be banned from using for campaigning prior to the upcoming Senate election on February 25.
The NEC has banned all political parties from campaigning on nine major boulevards in Phnom Penh, along with a slew of public spaces within the city.
“This ban is to ensure security, safety and public order for all political parties, and to avoid traffic jams that disrupt the travel of people, as well as national and international tourists,” the NEC said yesterday.
Lorn Sengchai, head of the Municipal Election Committee Secretariat, said that only the ruling CPP has so far notified his department of a public gathering for its members and supporters, scheduled for Saturday, the opening day of the two-week campaign period.
He said the CPP gathering is not going to be held on a major street, nor a public space, in order to avoid disrupting public order.
“I think the election campaign for the Senate election is not as big as the national election or commune elections, because the Senate election is non-universal,” he said. “But parties must still notify us of any planned gatherings.”
Sam Kuntheamy, executive director of election watchdog NICFEC, said the parties should be allowed to march on major roads because police could easily handle any traffic issues, due to the smaller scale of the campaigns.
“Banning political parties from marching on some streets is hard to accept,” he said.
City Hall spokesman Met Meas Pheakdey said the marching ban was meant to make the facilitation of the campaign period easier for authorities.
Four political parties are standing in the election: the ruling CPP, the Cambodian Youth Party, the Khmer National United Party and Funcinpec.