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Small Parties a Target: Group

With general elections fast approaching, smaller competing parties are likely to be targets of threat and intimidation, the Cambodian Center for Human Rights said Tuesday.

In a monthly bulletin, the rights group warns that intimidation can include murder, but may be as seemingly small as the knocking down of party signs.

Government spokesman Khieu Kanharith said the rights group was wrong in its accusations, adding that smaller parties sometimes do not respect National Election Committee regulations.

Opposition members still face intimidation from the ruling Cambodian People’s Party, opposition leader Sam Rainsy said.

Meanwhile, competing parties such as the Sam Rainsy Party, Human Rights Party and Norodom Ranariddh Party, are still not properly allowed to express themselves, said Hang Puthea, executive director of the Neutral & Impartial Committee for Free & Fair Elections in Cambodia.

Destruction of parties signs is now more frequent in Phnom Penh than the provinces, he said.