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CPP Officials Declines SRP Meeting on Election Irregularities

Mu Sochua, secretary-general of the Sam Rainsy Party, has been refused a request by her counterpart in the ruling Cambodian People's Party for a meeting on irregularities from commune elections April 1.

The Sam Rainsy Party gained a handful of commune chiefs in the election but says that voter intimidation and other irregularities cost them and that their activists still face threats.

Mu Sochua wrote a letter Monday to Say Chhum, secretary-general of the Cambodian People's Party, inviting a discussion of the irregularities.

Say Chhum responded in a letter obtained Wednesday by VOA Khmer, saying CPP members never threaten other activists, but declined to meet Mu Sochua.

"I am the SRP secretary-general," Mu Sochua said. "I believe a meeting between secretary-generals might create an understanding between them and find a solution for the people, the activists who are victims. I regret he refuses to meet with me."

Say Chhum could not be reached for comment. CPP lawmaker Chiem Yeap said it was normal for losing parties to protest.

"My party's leaders, [Senate President] Chea Sim, [Prime Minister] Hun Sen, and [National Assembly President] Heng Samrin, always give instructions to their subordinates that if we win, we will win with honor, dignity, and justice," he said. "I think there were no threats."

Koul Panha, executive director of the election watchdog Comfrel, said his organization tracked a number of threats in the lead-up to commune elections, most of them verbal.