In Preah Vihear, Rainsy Warns of Encroachment

Newly returned from a brief trip to the Philippines, opposition leader Sam Rainsy was in Preah Vihear on Wednesday, where he addressed party supporters and accused the ruling CPP of stealing land and giving it over to foreigners.

While his visit to the province comes just days after a U.N. court ruled on an area of disputed land near the Preah Vihear temple, CNRP spokesman Yim Sovann said Mr. Rainsy chose Preah Vihear for his visit because it was next door to Siem Reap province, where he arrived from the Philippines.

“He went to Preah Vihear just to chat with the people and with activists in some of the communities where people voted for the CNRP,” Mr. Sovann said.

Yet loss of Cambodian territory featured heavily in Mr. Rainsy’s speech.

“Sam Rainsy said that the current government lead by the Cambodian People’s Party has robbed people of their land, sold the nation’s assets and caused deforestation,” according to an entry on the party’s website.

“He [Sam Rainsy] continued that we have to come together to protect the natural resources of the country from encroachment by foreign countries.”

Such themes have figured prominently in the CNRP’s platform since before and after the national election in July, during which the CPP won 68 seats and the CNRP 55 seats. The opposition claims the election results were heavily skewed by voting irregularities perpetrated by supporters of the CPP.

CNRP Deputy President Kem Sokha, who on Tuesday returned from his own trip to meet with Cambodian supporters in Australia, was in Kompong Speu province Wednesday for a Kathin celebration.

Contacted afterward, Mr. Sokha said he told supporters packed into a local pagoda that the opposition still had no plans to join the National Assembly, which its 55 lawmakers-elect have been boycotting since it opened in September.

“I told the people that we have the same position, to find justice regarding the election,” he said.

The CNRP has held several mass demonstrations against the election and plans to hold ever larger ones at the start of next year if its political standoff with the CPP is not settled by then.

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