Cambodia bans selling, drinking alcohol during upcoming commune polls


PHNOM PENH (Xinhua): Cambodia's Ministry of Tourism on Tuesday (May 24) issued a directive to ban selling and drinking all types of alcohol for two days -- a day before and on the commune election day.

The move is to help ensure that the commune election on June 5 is free and fair without violence, threat, intimidation and incidents, which could be compromised by alcohol consumption, Ministry of Tourism's permanent secretary of state Tith Chantha said in the directive.

"The owners or managers of karaoke parlors, night clubs, discotheques, and beer gardens across the country must suspend their businesses for two days on June 4 and 5, 2022," he said.

"The owners or managers of all tourism businesses that offer food services must also stop selling and serving alcoholic drinks for the two days mentioned above," he added.

He advised tourism department chiefs across the nation to promote the prohibition to all owners or managers of those entertainment facilities and businesses.

Meanwhile, the government has also decided in principle to allow workers to take fully paid three days off for the elections, according to a statement.

Seventeen political parties will contest in the upcoming elections, with the ruling Cambodian People's Party (CPP) of Prime Minister Samdech Techo Hun Sen and the opposition Candlelight Party being the major contestants, according to the National Election Committee (NEC).

The elections are to choose commune chiefs and councilors for the country's 1,652 communes, the NEC said, adding that about 9.2 million eligible voters, or 87.9 percent of the total population of 18 years old and above, are expected to cast their ballots.

Held once every five years, the fifth mandate of commune elections are seen as a bellwether of the party's support ahead of the general elections in 2023.

In the last commune elections in June 2017, the CPP won 1,156 communes of the total 1,652 ones.

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