Two political parties are prepared to kick off their election campaigns on Saturday in Pursat, a stronghold of the ruling CPP which took all 49 of the province’s communes in last year’s local elections and is this year battling the Grassroots Democratic Party in the national election.
Sam Chanthan, deputy chief of Phnom Kravanh district and a CPP official, said yesterday that his district has about 30,000 registered voters and the CPP is fully prepared to win their hearts.
“We have already prepared our plan for the campaign season,” he said. “We expect thousands of people to join a CPP rally at the provincial headquarters on campaign day.”
“We are cooperating with security forces to facilitate the rally,” he added, noting that people taking part in the rally were doing so freely. “The people who take part in the rally are coming on their own – they weren’t paid; we only provide gasoline and snacks like bread and water for lunch as a way of taking care of our supporters.”
He said that CPP supporters in the district have been encouraged to attend the rally and also cast votes on July 29.
“We informed people to cast ballots,” he said. “We believe that at least 70 percent of the district will vote for the CPP.”
The electoral campaign period will last for 21 days from July 7 to 27.
One farmer in the district who requested anonymity said that he will vote, but does not plan on attending any rallies as he needs to focus on his work.
“I don’t care about what people are saying about the election,” the farmer said. “I will vote, but not rally, like I usually do because I’m busy and I don’t think it takes that long to cast a ballot.”
Loek Sochantrea, the Grassroots Democratic Party’s provincial director, said yesterday that the party is prepared for the campaign period in the province, but noted that the scale of rallies will depend on party resources.
“Signs are being prepared to be installed for the campaign period,” Mr Socantrea said. “The NEC gave us four opportunities to conduct rallies at the same location within 21 days. We are reserving those for big rallies. For us, we will rally two or three times, but if we had the resources we would do it a fourth time.”
He added that no supporters would be given cash or be coerced to vote for his party, which is focusing on social issues such as the economy, employment, healthcare and basic human rights to get elected. “We are expecting 200 participants and they are not offered money to come, we will just provide meals for them,” Mr Sochantrea said. “We’re not forcing them to come, or to vote.”