BATTAMBANG, CAMBODIA – the main opposition party, the Cambodian National Rescue Party, has been campaigning vigorously since party leader Sam Rainsy returned from a four-year self-imposed exile last Friday.
Mr Rainsy along with high-level party members Mr Kem Sokha and Ms Mu Sochua, have embarked on a rapid journey through many of Cambodia’s provincial centres before the election this Sunday.
On July 23, the convoy stopped in Battambang and drew a large crowd.
After Mr Rainsy spoke to the supporters massed outside Psar Nath, the convoy travelled through the countryside to spread its message of change for Cambodia.
Mr Rainsy left Cambodia in 2009 after being found guilty of charges brought against him by the Prime Minister, Mr Hun Sen. The charges, connected with the moving of border markers between Cambodia and Vietnam, are believed by many to be politically motivated.
Last July, the Human Rights Party led by Kem Sokha merged with the Sam Rainsy Party to form the Cambodian National Rescue Party.
Earlier this month, Mr Hun Sen petitioned for a royal pardon to be issued for Mr Rainsy so he could return to Cambodia and campaign for his party.
Because he was found guilty of criminal charges, Mr Rainsy was made ineligible to contest a seat in the election. Despite petitions to have Mr Rainsy’s name reinstated, he will not be permitted to run for his own party.
The ruling party, the Cambodian People’s Party, headed by Mr Hun Sen, is expected to win the polls on Sunday. The party has been in government since 1985.