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Parties, Police Prepare for Campaign Kick-Off

A Cambodian military police officer, left, traffics during the election campaign in Phnom Penh, file photo.
PHNOM PENH - All eight political parties set to run in the July 28 polls are now preparing for the 30-day campaign period that kicks off Thursday.

The opposition Cambodia National Rescue Party expects more than 10,000 supporters to join it in a rally and motorcade in Phnom Penh after the campaign period begins.

Party spokesman Yim Sovann told VOA Khmer the rally will begin at Democracy Park and proceed through the main roads of the capital before ending at Wat Phnom.

The party will also gather supporters in Takmao town, Kandal province, where Prime Minister Hun Sen is registered as a candidate in the election, Yim Sovann said.

The ruling Cambodian People’s Party expects around 10,000 supporters to attend a rally that will set out from Diamond Island, which sits on a river in the capital. They then will go through nine districts in Phnom Penh, said Ok Kim Han, a ruling party official.

“The CPP is ready,” he said.

The royalist Funcinpec will also hold a rally, but not in the capital, said Nhiek Bun Chhay, the party’s secretary-general. Instead, the party will focus on Kampong Cham province, where its president, Princess Norodom Arunrasmey, is a candidate.

Representatives of the remaining smaller parties said this week they won’t hold rallies, but they will begin door-to-door campaigning and leaflet distribution when the campaign begins.

Meanwhile, police say they are ready to deploy throughout the capital to ensure the campaigning goes smoothly. Up to 20,000 extra security personnel will be deployed throughout the campaign period, with 70,000 deployed on Election Day, a police spokesman said.

Yim Sovann of the Rescue Party said the added police are welcome, so long as they are used for security, and not to intimidate supporters of the opposition.