The Interior Ministry and National Election Committee yesterday instructed all local authorities and armed forces to cooperate with election officials to facilitate the electoral process, especially the upcoming 21-day election campaign period.
Interior Minister Sar Kheng and NEC chairman Sik Bun Hok issued a joint statement instructing all officials to cooperate to ensure a smooth electoral process, including the election campaign period, transportation of material to election stations, ballot counting, and the announcement of the election result.
The statement said that election officials at all levels had to work with provincial governors to exchange information regarding security, public order and handling of campaign activities.
“Discuss together and approve public locations for election campaigns by political parties, set up daily agendas related to the uses of public locations, respect morality, and prevent and solve problems related to campaigns which violate the Law on Elections,” the statement said.
Village chiefs, assistant village chiefs, and their village members had to adhere to neutrality without taking sides with or opposing any political parties or candidates, it added.
Twenty political parties have officially registered with the NEC to contest the election on July 29 and the election campaign period begins on July 7 and ends on July 27.
The government will deploy more than 19,000 security forces across the country to provide security and public order for the 21-day campaign period.
Sam Kuntheamy, executive director of election watchdog Nicfec, applauded the instruction to ensure that local authorities performed their duties according to the law.
“I think the implementation cannot be 100 percent effective because we see local authorities were biased in the past,” Mr Kuntheamy said, noting that in previous elections, local authorities were in favour of the ruling CPP, especially for campaigning in the public locations.
Mam Sonando, president of the Beehive Social Democratic Party, said that despite the instruction from leadership, some local officials still made obstacles, especially preventing party signs from being erected.
“Some authorities do not understand even though we have already informed provincial governors about installing party signs,” Mr Sonando said.