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Opposition Says Planned Demonstration Is Not To Overthrow Government

Cambodia National Rescue Party leader Sam Rainsy (middle) talks during a press conference on Thursday, August 29, 2013.
PHNOM PENH - Cambodia’s opposition leaders on Thursday said they will go forward with a mass demonstration next month, despite warnings from ruling party authorities and calls for calm.

Officials for the ruling Cambodian People’s Party have begun issuing warnings to foreign embassies and organizations, claiming the opposition Cambodia National Rescue Party is plotting to overthrow the government.

Opposition officials say they are expecting 100,000 supporters to rally in the streets of Phnom Penh on Sept. 7, to protest flawed elections and a refusal by governing authorities to properly investigate irregularities.

Talks between the CPP and the Rescue Party over a separate investigation have yielded no results, continuing the political deadlock that has gone on since the July 28 polls.

“Our aim is to prove for national and international opinion that there are many supporters of the [Rescue Party], that’s all,” opposition leader Sam Rainsy told reporters Thursday.

The demonstration will be canceled if a special commission is formed to address the complaints of irregularities, Sam Rainsy said.

Rescue Party officials say they would have won the election without voting irregularities. But the CPP has already claimed an election victory, citing preliminary results issued by the National Election Committee.

Meanwhile, the CPP issued its own statement, calling on the public for “calm and quiet and help maintaining peace and stability.”

In a letter to Sam Rainsy, CPP President Chea Sim said the election complaints must be looked into by the National Election Committee or the Constitutional Council.

The CPP “is willing to continue talks based on the results of the vote,” he said.