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Hun Sen Urges Safety for All Parties

Prime Minister Hun Sen said Tuesday he wanted to ensure the safety of all political parties in the run-up to July's national elections.

Speaking at a school inauguration in Prey Veng province, Hun Sen called on the authorities and security forces to take strong measures to protect the safety of "all political parties competing in the national election in July."

The appeal comes on the heels of accusations that ruling Cambodian People's Party officials were discriminating against competing parties.

"I would like to take this opportunity to call for all authorities and armed forces to take care of protecting the security for all political parties to work the election process with democracy, freedom and non-violence, in an atmosphere that all can accept.... All are very good choices for Cambodia."

Human Rights Party President Kem Sokha called the appeal a "political maneuver."

"I'm very disappointed," he said. "I don't believe Hun Sen. Because today my Human Rights Party sign in Kratie was knocked down. Hun Sen's appeal is meaningless. I ask Hun Sen to condemn the perpetrators, and if he cannot condemn the perpetrators, then what Hun Sen just said seems to push the perpetrtors to do more."

Eng Chhay Ieng, secretary-general of the Sam Rainsy Party, said Wednesday that a good security atmosphere ahead of the elections was ultimately up to Hun Sen.

"What Hun Sen called for is just a good picture for the public," he said. "In fact, the CPP has ordered its men to threaten and intimidate the Sam Rainsy Party."

Tep Nytha, secretary-general of the National Election Committee, said Wednesday there are 45,000 security personnel from the military, military police and interior police to be deployed at 15,000 polling stations nationwide during elections.

There are 20 security personnel in each district, and 10 in each commune, he said.

"This strong security measure can ensure security and safety for the election," he said.