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CNRP sets next mass rally date

Thousands of opposition party supporters cheer during a mass demonstration in the capital earlier this month
Thousands of opposition party supporters cheer during a mass demonstration in the capital earlier this month. CNRP leaders have set the date for the next mass rally for October 23. VIREAK MAI

CNRP sets next mass rally date

The opposition party has set October 23 – the 22nd anniversary of the Paris Peace Accords – as the date of its next mass rally.

In an announcement issued on Saturday, the Cambodia National Rescue Party also unveiled plans to collect millions of thumbprints from those whom it maintains voted for the party. The thumbprints will be sent to the United Nations in order to mount an argument for international intervention.

“The party plans to collect at least 3.3 million thumbprints to submit to the UN to help solve the political crisis,” spokesman Yem Ponharith said.

The CNRP said it has already prepared some 500,000 petition slips – each with room for seven thumbprints – and is getting ready to disseminate them around the country.

According to official results issued by the National Election Committee, the CNRP received 2.9 million votes and 55 seats to the ruling party’s 3.23 million votes and 68 seats.

Opposition officials maintain, however, that fraud covered up hundreds of thousands of votes in their favour and that they, in fact, won 63 seats.

The CNRP intends to hold a party congress on Sunday to “tell people about our stance”, said Ponharith, who added that the party would send a request to City Hall today to host the meeting at Freedom Park.

Cambodian People’s Party senior lawmaker Cheam Yeap scoffed at the efforts of the CNRP and its leader, Sam Rainsy.

“It is his right, go ahead. But can he profit or lose? Because Samdech [Hun Sen] has already said the United Nations [cannot] come and create the Cambodian parliament as in 1993,” Yeap said. “The rice has been cooked already. It can’t be uncooked; both the parliament and the government are established.”

The opposition has been boycotting parliament since last Monday’s opening session. Last week, it vowed to hold a day-long general strike should the CPP not budge, but later backed off, saying it would first return to negotiations. Prime Minister Hun Sen, too, said last week he was still willing to negotiate with the opposition but threatened to release potentially embarrassing tapes made during their last round of talks.

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