Thousands of forces to be deployed for national poll

Khy Sovuthy / Khmer Times No Comments Share:
NEC president Sik Bun Hok, right. KT/Chor Sokunthea

The government will deploy more than 19,000 security forces for the upcoming election campaign while nearly 85,000 forces will provide security on polling day.

Tep Nytha, secretary-general of the National Election Committee, said yesterday that 19,400 security forces will be deployed for the 21-day election campaign from July 7 to 27 while 84,583 forces will be on guard at polling stations nationwide on July 29.

NEC president Sik Bun Hok, at a press conference yesterday at NEC headquarters in Phnom Penh, echoed Prime Minister Hun Sen, saying the election would move forward without the dissolved CNRP.

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“No one can tell the NEC that the election is fair only with the participation of the opposition party,” he said, adding that the CNRP was not allowed to participate because it was dissolved by the Supreme Court and no longer a political party.

Mr Bun Hok said the CNRP violated the laws because it colluded with a foreign country and attempted to destroy Cambodia.

“Even the ruling CPP, if they violated the law, it would be dissolved,” Mr Bun Hok said, noting that all political parties would be prosecuted if they acted against the law.

The NEC will start to register political parties and candidates who stand for the elections from April 30 to May 14.

So far, 37 political parties have their names registered at the Interior Ministry and have equal rights to join or not join the election on July 29, according to Mr Bun Hok.

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He noted that the voter list contains 8,380,217 names out of 9,882,746 eligible voters, or 84.8 percent of those aged 18 and over.

When asked if the election result would be recognised if turnout was less than 50 percent, Mr Bun Hok said, “The constitutional law does not state about these points, so it does not affect the election result. We respect the people’s will.”

Last year, the US and EU pulled funding for the national election, saying the vote could not be credible after the dissolution of the CNRP.

The NEC issued a stern warning on Monday after Mr Rainsy, who lives in exile in France, spoke to Radio Free Asia on Saturday and called on Cambodians to boycott the upcoming election, saying it was not transparent and a joke without the participation of his former party.

“The NEC would like to call on all individuals to stop these illegal acts immediately,” it said.

Article 142 of the Election Law states that anyone caught preventing eligible citizens from voting may be fined between $1,250 and $5,000.

Following the dissolution of the CNRP by the Supreme Court in November, some political parties and NGOs who observed past elections seem hesitate to participate in the electoral process and are waiting to see how the situation unfolds.

The CNRP was dissolved after its leader Kem Sokha was arrested on treason charges over an alleged attempt to overthrow the government.

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