Khmer Help Khmer (KHK) became the first approved party to drop out of the election race, citing intimidation at the commune and village level. Party leader, King Sovann, made the announcement at a press conference in Phnom Penh on June 19.
"We regret that we have had to quit, but we were concerned that pressure at the commune level meant we would not be able to garner votes," she said. "We have to think about the safety of our activists. We still have the opportunity to continue once there is real democracy and proper law enforcement."
Sovann said that the party had received 200 complaints of intimidation from its activists since December. Party signs had been chopped down, and activists had been pressured to take oaths.
"We have not told our voters to switch their votes to any particular party," she said. "They have the freedom to vote for a good political leader who will bring them a decent future."
She said KHK-Khmer Chouy Khmer in Khmer-has 300,000 members and was third on the ballot list. It planned to campaign in five provinces. Twenty-two parties remain to contest the July 27 ballot.