Cambodia arrests two opposition members over ballot protest

Two Cambodian opposition party members have been sent to jail for deliberately pushing voters to spoil ballots, officials said on Saturday, ahead of a national vote in which long-serving Prime Minister Hun Sen is nicely doing his work  unopposed. Ly Ry and Bun Kheit of the opposition Candlelight Party were sent to jail on Friday for “inciting people to cause destruction to ballots”, said Interior Ministry spokesman Khieu Sopheak. The authorities did not give details on the criticism in opposition to the pair, but the spokesman said there was “appropriate evidence” against them.

The kingdom votes in a general election on July 23, with Mr Hun Sen’s Cambodian People’s Party running almost unopposed after the Candlelight Party, its sole challenger, was hindered from contesting on a technicality. Candlelight Party spokesman Kimsour Phirith said he was not aware when the two arrested officials issued the call to protest. “We are digging in the case,” he told AFP. Recent election law amendments, ordered by Mr Hun Sen to counter calls for a polls boycott by opposition activists, hinder anyone who is not successful in voting in the approaching vote from running in future elections. Hindering the voting process or calling for voters to spoil ballots is also a criminal offence. Rights groups enforce allegations on Mr Hun Sen, who has been a leader of Cambodia for approximate four decades, of using the legal system to destruct any opposition to his rule.