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Commune Election Campaigning Begins

Supporters of the ruling Cambodian People's Party campaign during a commune elections rally in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, Friday, May 18, 2012. The campaign was kicked off Friday for the June 3 commune elections.

Ten political parties kicked off campaigning across the country on Friday, in anticipation of commune elections June 3.

Celebrations were held at party headquarters, and party supporters began handing out leaflets to potential voters. No violence was reported on the first day of the 15-day campaign period.

On the streets of Phnom Penh, the ruling Cambodian People’s Party drove through the streets in modern vehicles. Members of the opposition Sam Rainsy Party traveled by motorcycle, old trucks or by foot to deliver its political message.

Supporters for various parties wearing T-shirts and hats emblazoned with party logos circled Independence Monument and motored through the city streets, where tightened security was evident.

Supports for the party of Sam Rainsy, who remains in exile, played a recording of his voice, which shouted for change as it passed Prime Minister Hun Sen’s residence near Independence Monument.

Nearby, an old woman shouted, “Cambodia should have a new king leading the country, if we need our country to develop.”

Through their own loudspeaker, the Cambodian People’s Party broadcast a message saying, “Vote for the CPP, make the country develop, reduce poverty and corruption.”

In campaigning in the west of the capital, officials of the Human Rights Party gathered at Wat Phnom for a swearing-in ceremony for new members. Party president Kem Sokha said the ceremony was to show that his party was not a “puppet” of the ruling party.