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CNRP, NEC meet over political rally ban

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Opposition leader Kem Sokha and other members of the opposition CNRP earlier this year in Phnom Penh. Pha Lina

CNRP, NEC meet over political rally ban

Cambodia National Rescue Party officials yesterday met with National Election Committee representatives in a bid to persuade them to overturn a ruling by City Hall banning political gatherings in several prominent places during the upcoming commune election campaign period.

Issued on April 28, the City Hall directive prohibited parties from leading marches on major thoroughfares, including Mao Tse Tung, Monivong, Sothearos and Suramarit boulevards and Oknha Tep Phan Street. It also banned rallies at all of the capital’s prominent markets and public spaces, including outside the Royal Palace and at Samdech Hun Sen Park. The city says the order is meant to prevent traffic congestion and maintain public order.

During an hour-long meeting, CNRP lawmaker Yim Sovann urged the NEC to review the order and discuss the matter with City Hall. He also called for further clarity about what constituted a mass rally and whether limits would be enforced and requested the opposition be permitted to distribute leaflets and use loudspeakers near markets.

“We hope that there will be a change since what CNRP is asking is not excessive,” Sovann said after the meeting. “We are prepared to work with the local authorities to plan and avoid congestion or any impact.”

NEC Deputy Secretary-General Som Sorida, who met with Sovann, said the body would discuss the request and respond before the campaign period officially kicks off on Saturday.

City Hall spokesman Met Measpheakdey yesterday said the municipality would abide by any decision made by the NEC on the matter.

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