Cambodia opposition leader renews threat to call mass protests against poll results

Source:Xinhua Published: 2013-8-11 13:12:28

Sam Rainsy, president of the opposition Cambodia National Rescue Party (CNRP), once again threatened to call mass protests against the results of the July 28 national election if an independent committee still could not be formed to look into poll irregularities.

"I will return to Cambodia very soon. We will hold massive demonstrations to demand for the change of the current leaders if a joint poll probe technical group is still controversial and cannot find justice for the people," he wrote on his Facebook page on Sunday from Massachusetts, the United States where he was attending his daughter's wedding.

Initial results showed that the ruling Cambodian People's Party (CPP) of long-serving Prime Minister Hun Sen won 68 of the 123 parliamentary seats, with the CNRP taking the remaining 55 seats.

But Sam Rainsy rejected the results, claiming serious irregularities during the poll, and called for the establishment of an independent poll probe committee, or he would lead nationwide protests.

As of Sunday, the committee, which is seen as the only body to peacefully resolve the dispute between the two parties over the poll results, has not been set up yet due to disagreement over committee members.

Deputy Prime Minister and Interior Minister Sar Kheng said Friday that soldiers and armored vehicles have been deployed on the outskirts of Phnom Penh, the capital of Cambodia, since Thursday to ensure security and stability after Sam Rainsy has repeatedly called for mass protests against the election results.

"We have no intention to threaten people, but the government has a duty to protect security and peace. If it is a peaceful protest, I ensure that there will really be no any problem happens, " he told reporters.

"In case that a protest has led to violence, destruction to national security, and damage to public or private properties, the protest leaders and offenders must take full responsibilities in front of the law for consequences arising from the protest," he said.

On Friday, Sam Rainsy wrote on his Facebook page, urging armed forces to get up to rescue the nation.

"Please help explain to armed forces, who are your relatives, in order to encourage them to stand up with people and youth forces to demand for the change of the current leaders by 2013," he wrote.

Government Spokesman and Information Minister Khieu Kanharith said Saturday the Facebook could not be considered as an official language, but if Sam Rainsy has made such inciting remarks, it is a criminal case.

"The appeal for armed forces to stand up and stage mutiny against the government is a criminal offence," he said.

Through the July 28 election results, Prime Minister Hun Sen, 61, who has been in power for 28 years, will be able to rule the country for another five years.

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