Update: 1:00 P.M.:
As the rally pauses for a lunch break near the Cameko City development, supporters are resting in the shade after hours cooking in the sun. They say the day so far has been a success.
That wraps up our coverage for the day. Read Monday’s paper for a rundown of today’s events and a look forward at the campaign and June 4 commune vote.
Update: 12:00 P.M.:
Update: 11:48 A.M.:
Watching the rally from an inside a gas station, a 26 year-old Labor Ministry official told me he will vote CPP, but was hesitant to say if this was a choice so much as a requirement.
“You know how it is in Cambodia,” he said.
Update: 11:20 A.M.:
Update: 11:00 A.M.:
Update: 10:40 A.M.:
The CNRP procession is moving slowly north as it mingles with regular traffic. Onlookers along National Road 2 watch with various levels of enthusiasm. We just passed a group of military police watching from the shade of a cafe. The mood is mellow.
Update: 10:29 A.M.:
Update: 9:55 A.M.:
In a speech to supporters, CNRP president Kem Sokha called for “positive change” and repeated the party’s five pronged strategy.
He also said he would eliminate the Ministry of Rural Development, saying the central government had too much power over commune development.
Instead, the government would deliver $500,000 to each commune to spend on infrastructure and development.
He called the proposal a “change from begging for money to having our own money.”
As we wait for CNRP president Kem Sokha to arrive and address the over a thousand supporters assembled here, we spoke to senior CNRP lawmaker Son Chhay, who represents Phnom Penh and was upset the rally has been forced to the outskirts of the city.
“Why we have to campaign surrounded by water and grass?” he asked, gesturing to the filled in marshes along Hun Sen Boulevard. “This is the kind of thing that makes the election unfair.”But Mr. Chhay said the party will stay clear of areas where City Hall forbid rallies–less out of respect for the rules than a desire to avoid confrontation. “We don’t say that we’re going to respect it, but we’re going to avoid some activities that cause problems for them.”
Update: 8:38 A.M.:
Update: 8:17 A.M.:
Update: 8:06 A.M.:
Thousands of people here on Koh Pich for the CPP’s opening campaign rally. Today’s the first day of the campaign period.
Update: 7:55 A.M.:
There’s a festive spirit south of central Phnom Penh this morning as several hundred CNRP supporters gather on motorbikes, trucks, and SUVs on the newly-inaugurated Hun Sen Boulevard. From here, the parade will slowly snake north and then west of the city over the course of the day.