City Hall has rejected the opposition CNRP’s request to start its final campaign march in central Phnom Penh on Friday, on Wednesday ordering it to move its plans forward by a day to this morning or start in the outskirts of the city, a City Hall spokesman said.
With a day to go until the last day of campaigning, the opposition’s plans are still up in the air.
After a four-hour meeting between the CNRP, City Hall and the municipal election committee on Wednesday, City Hall decided it would not allow the CNRP to march from the old Freedom Park in central Phnom Penh, spokesman Met Measpheakdey said.
“We’ve requested to the CNRP to consider changing their date from June 2 to June 1…. If they want to gather, we request [they] do it at the new Freedom Park” on the outskirts of the city, Mr. Measpheakdey said, adding that the decision had been made to “ensure a better election campaign situation” and uphold “safety, public order and security.”
The U.S. Embassy on Wednesday issued a travel alert about the June 4 elections, encouraging any U.S. citizens in Cambodia to avoid large crowds and immediately vacate any area where crowds are gathering.
The CNRP was told earlier this week to change the route of its planned march in order to avoid a collision with the CPP’s march in Phnom Penh on the same day.
According to the CPP’s map of its planned parade—which City Hall says was submitted before the CNRP’s—the ruling party’s 9 km march will splinter into smaller groups moving down side roads and cover a broad area of the city.
CNRP spokesman Yim Sovann on Wednesday called City Hall’s decision “purely discrimination” and said the CNRP would not change the date of its march.
The party would, however, consider changing its gathering place to either Wat Chas, on the Chroy Changva peninsula, or the new Freedom Park, Mr. Sovann said. The new Freedom Park is in Russei Keo district, in the north of the capital.
NEC spokesman Hang Puthea said the municipal election committee will hold an urgent meeting this morning with all sides to try to reach a compromise.
“To order them to change the date to June 1—[it] is impossible because they [would need to] inform their supporters,” Mr. Puthea said.
“I hope there will be a resolution that both sides can accept,” he said.