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Mass Demonstration a Last Resort, Opposition Says

Head of opposition Cambodia National Rescue Party Sam Rainsy, second from left, gives a speech during a rally of their supporters after the July 28 polls, in Phnom Penh, file photo.
PHNOM PENH - Opposition leaders met with supporters on Thursday, saying the party was interested in resolving issues over last month’s election and that a mass demonstration is not a top priority.

“It’s just the last step,” Kem Sokha, vice president of the Cambodia National Rescue Party, told supporters in Phnom Penh.

The Rescue Party is contesting the primary election results, which handed a win to the ruling Cambodian People’s Party, and opposition leaders say their lawmakers could boycott the formation of a new government if an investigation into widespread allegations of irregularities does not take place.

That position has heightened fears of post-election violence across the country. The government has sent thousands of armed forces to the capital in anticipation of a demonstration, according to local media reports.

Rescue Party lawmaker Son Chhay, who is leading post-election negotiations, has also sent a letter to his CPP counterpart, Cheam Yiep, requesting a meeting between the parties to discuss irregularities and next steps.

Rescue Party officials continued to file complaints with the National Election Committee on Thursday, including evidence of some 400,000 duplicate names on a voter registry.

The party has filed a total 17 complaints with the NEC over irregularities.

NEC Secretary-General Tep Nitha said complaints over the duplicate names are an “old problem,” but he said the complaints will be reviewed.