The campaign period for next month’s general election will last 21 days, from July 1-21, said Prach Chan, head of the National Election Committee (NEC), who also called for calm in the run-up to the election.

Chan issued a July 26 notice to all participating political parties, explaining that it was crucial that they used the election period to propagate their political programmes to the voting public. Election campaigns should persuade the electorate to vote for a particular candidate or party.

“During this upcoming campaign season, we call on all political parties – and their candidates and supporters – to abide by the rules, procedures and principles defined by the NEC, so that campaigns are conducted in a peaceful, non-violent and safe manner,” he said.

He reminded authorities at all levels to remain neutral in their work activities and to coordinate the activities of each political party so they had equal opportunities to hold events and rallies.

Chan said the NEC hoped that all political parties, authorities and other stakeholders will obey the relevant election laws so that campaigns will run smoothly the political rights of the public are unaffected.

Sam Kuntheamy, executive director of the Neutral and Impartial Committee for Free and Fair Elections in Cambodia (NICFEC), predicted a calm campaign period, now that the Candlelight Party was barred from contesting the election.

Sok Eysan, spokesman for the ruling Cambodian People’s Party (CPP), could not be reached for comment on June 26.

Funcinpec spokesman Nhoeun Raden said that his party has years of experience in the political arena, and has always campaigned ethically.

“For the forthcoming campaign, we will adhere to our ethics, and avoid the use of words that may incite unrest. All political parties should have mutual respect for one another,” he added.

NEC spokesperson Hang Puthea said on June 26 that during the campaign period, political parties may propagate their policies from 6am until 10pm. They are banned from campaigning near schools and hospitals.

He added that all parities must notify the capital and provincial election commissions of the route of their party’s rallies, so that routes can be coordinated to avoid disruptions to traffic and possible confrontations between parties.

“We call on each of the parties and their supporters to remain calm, maintain peace and public order, and eschew violence during the campaign period,” he continued.

He added that NEC formally ended the door-to-door distribution of election information cards on June 26. Over eight million of the more than 9.7 million registered voters received the cards from NEC working groups.