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Parties Prepare for Campaign Period

With the official campaign period approaching and elections on the near horizon, some of the nation's 11 competing parties are beginning to organize.

Opposition leader Sam Rainsy said his party will lead a sweeping campaign in Phnom Penh, gathering more than 10,000 activists in a "people movement strategy" when the official campaign period begins, June 26.

Norodom Ranairddh Party spokesman Muth Chantha said his party was not depending on a big campaign, but he was preparing to gather 3,000 people for public displays of support, driving by car or marching by foot in Phnom Penh.

The party will also campaign in remote areas where they have registered candidates, but each rural campaign will be up to individual candidates, he said.

The Society of Justice Party will have an election campaign in Battambang province, the only place where the party is registered, said party president Ban Sophal, who was once the former deputy governor of the province.

Seng Sokheng, secretary-general of the Hang Dara Democratic Movement Party, said preparations were underway, with 100 cars and 1,000 motorbikes reserved to carry supporters around Phnom Penh and in main provinces like Battambang, Prey Veng and Siem Reap, which have a high number of parliamentary seats up for grabs.

About 200,000 activists will move house to house handing out political platform brochures, Seng Sokheng said. Such large numbers of supporters were possible because Hang Dara, president of the party, was once the leader of the popular pro-Sihanouk movement, and this is not the first time for him to join an election. He also participated in 2003 and 2007.

Chiem Yeap, a lawmaker for the Cambodian People's Party, said the party would keep its standard election campaign strategy, to hold political rallies on the first and last days of the campaign period, which lasts until July 25.

NEC Secretary-General Tep Nitha said each party will have 10 minutes, broadcast twice a day on TVK, throughout the campaign period, to explain political platforms.