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Underdog RDP spot giant-killer role

Khuon Narim / Khmer Times Share:
REUTERS/Samrang Pring

Kampong Cham province – The minor Republican Democratic Party yesterday held a small campaign march here, promising to solve challenges people face from land grabbing and corruption when it defeated the ruling CPP in the upcoming national poll.

The RDP is among 20 political parties battling for ten seats in Kampong Cham province.

Yesterday, only about 30 people with one vehicle and 20 motorbikes marched and distributed leaflets while campaigning in the province.

Party president Roth Sovannpanhaseila said the RDP pledged to resolve challenges in the health sector, land disputes, civil servants’ salaries and corruption, and also illegal immigration mostly from Vietnam and China.

“If people like us cast their ballots, they will vote for our party because we are there to help them,” Ms Sovannpanhaseila said. “If not, it is their business.”

“We will return land to villagers because many companies have grabbed land and the current leader of 30 years has ignored calls to help people,” she added.

Ms Sovannpanhaseila founded the Heroine Army Unit movement struggling along the Khmer-Thai border from 1979 to 1994. She then fled the country to live abroad and founded the RDP in 2011.

“We will not allow foreigners who are living in the country to become our boss and we will make the law on immigration more restrictive,” she said. “We can beat the ruling CPP because we are clean. We have never been corrupt.”

She added that the army unit she led had fought for decades but had never killed Khmer people.

Roth Kimsreng, a 30-year-old party supporter, said the RDP would defeat the CPP because of its 12-point party policy on issues which were challenges for people.

He said the party leader had experience as an army chief and wanted to help people on issues such as human rights abuses and land grabs.

“Even if our march has fewer people than the CPP, our party is acting for people and the nation,” he said.

Chan Bopha, deputy chief of the Provincial Election Committee, said day three of the election campaign had gone smoothly with no irregularity in Kampong Cham province.

“Today only the Republican Democratic Party held their election campaign with about 20 people and one vehicle and motorbikes to spread their political message,” he said. “Security and public order are good.”

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