>Sam Rainsy Party predicts victory in upcoming election

>The Sam Rainsy Party election campaign on June 26th, 2008.

By Chun Sophal
The Mekong Times

The Sam Rainsy Party (SRP) has announced that it expects to win over 50 percent of the votes in the July 27 general election, claiming that victory in the poll has been assured by the electorate’s disillusionment with the present government.
“People can see the government’s powerlessness to prevent corruption and inflation,” SRP Secretary General Eng Chhay Eang told The Mekong Times Saturday, adding that the party expects to make gains particularly in Phnom Penh and Kampong Cham province.
“[The] SRP’s target is to win 62 seats in this election. We are confident because people know that only the SRP can eliminate corruption, lower goods prices, solve unemployment and provide free health services,” he said.
The SRP hopes to gain six more seats in the capital and five more in Kampong Cham, the nation’s most populous province, according to a recent prediction from the SRP. In the 2003 election, the SRP won just 24 of the 123 seats contested for the National Assembly (NA).
Information Minister and government spokesman Khieu Kanharith said the opposition party’s remarks were made to attract politicians who are looking to pay for high positions in the party. “He makes these claims now, but when he loses, he will announce that there is a threat, so he cannot return the money [to those who paid him],” he said, adding that, as a party that respects the law, the Cambodian People’Party (CPP) does not want to talk about other parties.
“But we will make every effort in this election to win 10 more seats,” he said. The CPP won 73 seats in the last election.
Civil society organizations monitoring the election have noted that political parties are stepping up their campaigns considerably, with less than a fortnight remaining until Cambodians go to the polls.
“We can see that political parties have made a lot of effort so far in the official 30-day campaign period,” said Hang Puthea, director of the Neutral and Impartial Committee for Free and Fair Election in Cambodia. “But we do not think these remarks about gaining [seats] are realistic.”
Optimistic predictions are typical around election time but the real results will only be known after the election, he said. “Only the voters can decide.”

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