Candlelight Says No to Racist Comments, CPP Will Campaign Small

2 min read
A Grassroots Democratic Party campaign rally for the 2017 commune election. (Heng Vichet/VOD)
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The ruling CPP will not have any major rallies when the campaign period kicks off on Saturday, said a party spokesperson, while a Candlelight Party official asked members to refrain from incendiary comments even once rallies kick off.

The official two-week campaign period for the June commune election begins Saturday, and allows all registered parties to have two rallies per commune, including larger roadshows. Prime Minister Hun Sen said in April he would not campaign this year, even though he made the unprecedented move to hit the campaign trail during the 2017 election.

The Candlelight Party’s vice president Son Chhay asked members to not be inciting or use racist language on the campaign trail, as the party embarks on an election campaign with a major rally planned for Phnom Penh on Saturday.

Chhay was previously a member of the CNRP, which routinely used inflammatory and race-baiting language when speaking about ethnic Vietnamese communities in Cambodia. Party hardliners also used border demarcation with Vietnam to rally support for the party.

The party will commence a daylong roadshow from Sen Sok district in Phnom Penh, ending at Charles de Gaulle Blvd. (Street 217).

CPP spokesperson Sok Eysan, meanwhile, said the party would focus on grassroots activities and not hold any large campaign events. He said Hun Sen would depart for Davos, Switzerland, on Saturday for the World Economic Forum.

“Generally speaking, the CPP is ready with everything to start the election campaign,” he said. “We hope that we will have a landslide victory like the previous election.”

Funcinpec, which will contest its first election under the leadership of late Norodom Ranariddh’s son Norodom Chakravuth, will rally around Takmao city, Kandal, said party spokesperson Nhoeun Raden. The Cambodia Reform Party will not hold large rallies and will focus on public forums and handing out leaflets, said party founder Ou Chanrath.

The Grassroots Democratic Party will campaign in the Phnom Penh communes they are contesting, as well as in other constituencies where they have fielded candidates. Party president Yeng Virak said he would go to Choeung Prey commune, in Kampong Cham’s Batheay district, on Saturday, while other top officials Yang Saing Koma and Sam Inn would visit Koh Dach island in Phnom Penh.

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