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Hun Sen Makes First Appeal to Voters Ahead of National Elections

Prime Minister Hun Sen made his first appeal to the populace Tuesday to vote for his Cambodian People's Party in the 2008 National Elections, while taking a small dig at the party of his old rival, Prince Norodom Ranariddh.

In a commencement ceremony speech broadcast nationwide, Hun Sen reminded students—and TV viewers—that his wife, Bun Rany, had donated 24 ambulances to the provincial and military police in Bantey Meanchey.

The prime minister sarcastically said that no matter what he said, there would be criticism, so he would go ahead and urge people now to vote for the CPP.

"Now, I might want to give additional aid today, they say to draw the votes. So, hey, they can say whatever they want to," Hun Sen said.

"Please vote for me in 2008, vote for the CPP, because [people] will say something anyway," Hun Sen said.

He also said a member of the Norodom Ranariddh Party who pulled a gun on another this week should be "handcuffed."

Opponents to Hun Sen and his party continually complain they have a disadvantage, because such broadcast speeches, slights and handouts by the CPP take place well outside legal election laws.

"According to the election law, his words are irresponsible," said opposition party legislator Kem Sophearith. "But, he has the right, because he is a prime minister, and he can do whatever he wants to."