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NEC warns NGOs and foreigners

Mom Sophon / Khmer Times Share:
Senate elections will take place on February 25. KT/Chor Sokunthea

NGOs and foreigners have been warned that they could face fines or expulsion from the country for causing confusion or affecting the results of the upcoming Senate elections.

NEC spokesman Hang Puthea said the NEC has made regulations and procedures based on existing laws in Cambodia.

NGOs or foreigners that violate the statute of electoral procedure shall be punished, he added.

“In general, the law says first to fine and second to punish according to the seriousness of the act. The severity of punishment depends on the mistake committed and may be added to other criminal penalties,” he said.

NGOs and foreigners could face fines up to $2,500. KT/Chor Sokunthea

The warning comes as political parties began campaigning for the Senate election.

Mr Puthea said NGOs or foreigners could face fines of up to $2,500, and foreigners would be expelled from the country. Local NGOs could face verbal or written warnings, but could face fines and imprisonment if they affect or cause chaos to society, he added.

“If an NGO disseminates a report or figures that are unclear, it can cause confusion regarding national and international opinion. The penalties are based on their actions,” he said.

Sam Kuntheamy, executive director of election watchdog NICFEC, said his organisation would not directly observe the proceedings as it had in previous elections.

Senate elections will take place on February 25. KT/Chor Sokunthea

He added the election was not relevant to the masses, as the people voting were National Assembly members and commune councillors.

Mr Kuntheamy also said the NEC warning seemed to limit or restrict the function of national or international observers.

“This warning seems to make observers involved in the election process more worried. By participating in all stages of the election, observers are supposed to make the process more free, accurate and transparent,” he said.

Senate elections will take place on February 25. Four political parties are standing in the elections including the ruling CPP, the Cambodian Youth Party, the Khmer National United Party and the royalist Funcinpec party.

Election warning: Foreigners, NGOs told not to play any roles in upcoming vote for the Senate. KT/Chor Sokunthea
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