SIEM REAP CITY – CNRP supporters sang and danced on the streets of Siem Reap City on Thursday as party leaders continued to lambaste Prime Minister Hun Sen and his ruling CPP in the opposition party’s council election campaign.
Upwards of 3,000 supporters attended this leg of the CNRP’s political roadshow, moving east across the country, and Sam Rainsy and Kem Sokha again ignored an election edict against launching personal attacks.
Their first target was Sok Kong, an ally of Mr. Hun Sen who collects millions of dollars each year thanks to a government contract to manage the ticketing office that collects entry fees from tourists entering Siem Reap’s Angkor temple complex.
“The millions of dollars that Angkor Wat generates each year, that money should be used to feed hungry people,” Mr. Rainsy told the lively crowd of more than 1,200 that had gathered in Metr 60 Street by 9 a.m.
“It’s our temple and our heritage, but our corrupt leaders use it for their own interests. We can not allow Sok Kong to collect the money from Angkor Wat anymore.”
Mr. Rainsy ended his speech in the searing sun by sparking a round of the rallying cry made famous in the aftermath of last year’s disputed national election—“Hun Sen, euy, choh chenh tov,” or “Hun Sen step down!”—before Mr. Sokha took the microphone.
The deputy CNRP president told the swelling crowd that the prime minister’s leadership qualities amounted to fiction.
“Hun Sen watches Chinese movies and took the Sam Kok strategy from China to lead Cambodia,” Mr. Sokha said, referring to a deceitful strategy used by Chinese warlords to rob power from their opponents. “Anyway, that strategy is useless.”
After the speeches, the CNRP’s motorcade wove through the city streets before breaking for lunch.
In the afternoon, Ke Sovannrath, a CNRP lawmaker-elect in Siem Reap and head of the provincial working group, hosted a meeting of the 147 Sam Rainsy Party commune councilors—along with a lone Human Rights Party councillor—who she hopes will vote 34 CNRP members onto the district council on May 18.
Unlike her peers in other provinces, Ms. Sovannrath said that she isn’t actively campaigning for defections from the CPP, but is confident they will manifest organically.
“It is against the law for us to secretly ask CPP councilors to change. We are confident our councilors will vote in 34 seats and the rest is up to the CPP to wake up and vote for us,” she said.
odom@cambodiadaily.com, blomberg@cambodiadaily.com
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