kien svay district, Kandal province – Opposition figure Sam Rainsy on Wednesday expressed confidence he would emerge victorious in the polls Sunday, provided the election is free and fair.
“If the election is reasonably free and fair, the Sam Rainsy Party will win the election, will have the majority at the National Assembly,” the party president told reporters following a rally here Wednesday. “But this is a very big ‘if,’ because I have no illusion in the freeness and fairness of the next election.”
He vowed he would not be forced into a power-sharing agreement, as his former party Funcinpec was following the UN-sponsored polls five years ago.
“I will not be afraid like Prince [Norodom] Ranariddh in 1993,” he said, referring to the deal that made the prince and Second Prime Minister Hun Sen share the premiership after the CPP lost the election to Funcinpec. “I am not afraid of Hun Sen’s blackmail, of Hun Sen’s threats.”
With only three days left in the official campaign period, Sam Rainsy kicked off his final trip on the campaign trail to Kandal and Kompong Cham. A convoy drove Wednesday morning to Koh Thom town in Kandal, with party workers tossing fistfuls of leaflets to bystanders.
Eleven seats are up for grabs in Kandal, where Hun Sen is running on the CPP ticket. According to the Committee for Free and Fair Elections, the largest number of campaign violations, such as vote-buying and destruction of signs and posters, have occurred in Kandal.
But the atmosphere that greeted Sam Rainsy’s arrival in Koh Pon commune was one of celebration. Several thousand boisterous supporters greeted the politician at a local wat with banners, a garland of jasmine flowers and a live band. “I just wanted to touch Sam Rainsy’s hands and welcome him,” said 41-year-old Touch Leng. “He is the best leader to help rebuild Cambodia.”
Sang Moung, 69, said he is supporting Sam Rainsy because he believes the former finance minister can speed up the transition to democracy.
Sam Rainsy hit on several recurrent themes, including elimination of corruption, job creation, and the ethnic Vietnamese issue.
The convoy also stopped briefly at the party office in Sa’ang district, where Sam Rainsy reassured people their votes would be secret.
Another large crowd greeted him in Kien Svay—bolstered by garment workers who joined the convoy in Takhmau—rubbing elbows with about 200 CPP members meeting across the road. Both rallies finished peacefully.