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Sam Rainsy Asks US for Clean Elections

Opposition leader Sam Rainsy called on US officials in Washington this week to help ensure July’s general elections are free and fair.

Sam Rainsy met with State Department Assistant Secretary Christopher Hill Tuesday, as well as members of the US Congress during a two-week visit to the US.

“The election can be free and fair, as long as the ruling party stops manipulating the courts to suppress the opposition,” Sam Rainsy told VOA Khmer Wednesday.

He was referring to the recent arrest of an opposition activist on charges relating to land issues.

In meetings with officials, he said, he had asked the US to respect the right of Cambodian people for assembly.

The opposition was planning a demonstration soon to demand the government act to mitigate the effects of inflation in the country, he said.

“When the price of goods increases, salaries should be increased at the same time,” he said.

Sam Rainsy himself is facing a lawsuit in Cambodian courts over remarks he made at an April 17 ceremony to mark the fall of Phnom Penh to the Khmer Rouge.

Foreign Minister Hor Namhong has filed suit alleging that Sam Rainsy singled him out as a member of the Khmer Rouge, a charge the minister denies.

Sam Rainsy said Wednesday he was not worried about the suit.

“Those who react like this have a guilty conscience,” he said.

“I did not mention anyone’s name,” he said. “I just said in general.”

There remain many officials in government who participated in the Khmer Rouge regime, he said.