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GDP stays in election race

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The Grassroots Democratic Party launched its election campaign in earnest on Tuesday in the capital. Pha Lina

GDP stays in election race

The Grassroots Democratic Party (GDP) has turned back from its earlier warning that it could withdraw from participating in the July 29 national elections, it announced on Sunday.

The party said it made the decision as the atmosphere of resistance from the Kingdom’s authorities had decreased.

The GDP’s leaders had earlier said their activists felt threatened in many cases over run-ins with law enforcement officials and claimed they had been unfairly treated.

However, kicking off a party parade in the capital, the GDP’s prime ministerial candidate, Yang Saing Koma, told reporters that the party will “definitely” be on the ballot.

“We have decided that we will go forward. We will not withdraw from the election but will wait for the election and counting day,” he said.

Saing Koma said after the GDP’s criticisms went public, the situation improved and local police seemed more cooperative with his party.

He said a speech by Interior Minister Sar Kheng last week calling on local officials not to discriminate over political affiliations may have had something to do with the change.

“First, we had difficulties, but those difficulties have decreased ... today police are helping us from the beginning of the rally ... plus the announcement from [Interior Minister Sar Kheng] recently has helped, and we can see that they have stopped interfering with our campaign,” he said.

Saing Koma also predicted that 75 percent of the Kingdom’s 8.3 million eligible voters would show up at the polls.

Cambodian People’s Party (CPP) spokesman Sok Eysan said that the GDP leader’s comments were merely given to save face before election day.

“We think that it is just to protect their reputation because he has no hope of them winning the election,” he said.

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