Cambodian Prime Minister Samdech Techo Hun Sen (L), president of the ruling Cambodian People's Party (CPP), and his wife Bun Rany attend an election campaign in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, on July 7, 2018. Cambodian political parties launched a three-week campaign on Saturday for the July 29 general election. (Xinhua/Phearum)
PHNOM PENH, July 7 (Xinhua) -- Cambodian political parties launched a three-week campaign on Saturday for the July 29 general election.
Twenty political parties will contest in the forthcoming election, which will see some 8.3 million people cast their ballots, according to the National Election Committee (NEC).
Cambodian Prime Minister Samdech Techo Hun Sen, president of the ruling Cambodian People's Party (CPP), held a rally at the Diamond Island in the capital of Phnom Penh with more than 60,000 supporters.
Addressing to his supporters, Hun Sen called for the people to join him in safeguarding the country's hard-earned peace, stability and development.
"If you love peace and development, please vote for the Cambodian People's Party," he said at the event, which was broadcast live on local television channels.
"The CPP has been the only political force that has stayed and shared the ups and downs with the people, and has done everything for the interest of the people," the prime minister said.
He also announced the CPP's political agenda for building and defending the nation for the next five years, vowing to protect the monarchy, and promoting the multi-party liberal democracy and respect for human rights.
He added the CPP defended the independence, sovereignty, full territorial integrity and peace of the country without allowing anyone to violate and destroy them, and categorically opposed foreign interference in Cambodia's internal affairs.
He said the party would develop the nation into a strong and advanced state based on the rule of law and would continue socio-economic development toward achieving a more prosperous country.
The prime minister said if the CPP continues to win the election, the CPP-led government would further increase salaries for the civil servants and armed forces and would further lower electricity tariffs.
Meanwhile, Hun Sen called on all political parties and stakeholders to strictly adhere to the laws, regulations and procedures of the election in order to ensure good political environment and to make the election proceed successfully with free, fair and just outcomes that all sides can accept.
On the opening day of the election campaign, other parties also gathered in other parts of the city.
The Funcinpec Party, led by Prince Norodom Ranariddh, held a gathering with about 2,000 supporters, according to the NEC. The prince was unable to join the campaign since he was badly injured in a road accident last month.
The League for Democracy Party, led by former opposition lawmaker Khem Veasna, held a rally with about 15,000 activists, as the Khmer Will Party, headed by former opposition member Kong Monika, rallied with about 300 supporters.
The election campaign will last until July 27, as the election for the 125-seat National Assembly will be held on July 29.
In the last election on July 28, 2013, eight political parties joined the race. The CPP won 68 seats against 55 seats for the now-dissolved Cambodia National Rescue Party (CNRP) in the then-123-seat National Assembly.
The CNRP was dissolved by the Supreme Court in November last year after its leader Kem Sokha was arrested and charged with "treason" for conspiring with a foreign power in an attempt to overthrow the government.
Political analysts predict that Hun Sen's party will continue to win a landslide victory in the upcoming election.