Political Parties Can Distribute Leaflets Inside Markets, NEC Says

The National Election Committee (NEC), in an effort to avoid complaints that dogged past elections, has issued specific rules allowing political parties to distribute leaflets inside markets during the commune election campaign period.

—Commune Election 2017—

The announcement on Monday by NEC spokesman Hang Puthea said it was the first time the body had issued specific rules about campaigning inside markets, and that the policy was designed because of complaints that arose during previous campaigns.

City Hall last month banned political parties from rallying along Phnom Penh’s major roads, parks and markets.

From past election experiences, “we saw that there were accusations against each other by all parties and stakeholders involved,” Mr. Puthea said.  “The authorities find it particularly difficult to coordinate for all political parties to do activities inside the markets.”

Opposition parties have complained during previous election campaigns of being blocked from entering some of Phnom Penh’s major markets, including the state-run Phsar O’Russei.

Mr. Puthea said the directive instructs authorities and political parties to plan in advance before campaigners enter markets to distribute leaflets to vendors. Only 10 people per party would be allowed in at any given time, he added. Loudspeakers would  not be allowed inside the market, he said.

CPP spokesman Sok Eysan said he welcomed the new rule.

Pon Dany, chief of the capital’s Phsar Thmei, which tourists know as Central Market, said she was aware of the directive and would implement it fairly.

“Of course, I was informed about this, but so far, I have not received any requests from any political parties for campaigning inside the market,” she said.

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