This weekend’s commune and sub-district elections in Cambodia have prompted the government to block text messenging for two days. The International Herald Tribune has more:

Mobile phone text messaging will be blocked during this weekend’s local elections in Cambodia, where the government is imposing a two day “tranquility period” to keep voters from being inundated with SMS campaign messages.

All three major phone companies in Cambodia have agreed to block text messages on Saturday and Sunday, Telecommunications Minister So Khun said Friday.

Campaigning was to end Friday for elections to choose councils to administer Cambodia’s 1,621 communes and urban sub-districts known as sangkats. Voting will take place Sunday, and text messaging will be restored after polls close at 3 p.m. local time (0800 GMT).

Officials imposed the ban based on a request from the National Election Committee, So Khun said. He referred to the ban as part of a necessary “tranquility period.”

The election committee chairman, Im Suosdey, said the committee was concerned that political parties could “use SMS services to send messages to 20 or 30 people at a time to galvanize them to vote for their parties.”

Being inundated with text messages could “spoil” the calm during the run-up to voting and on election day itself, he said.