(photo credit: JPOST STAFF)
Cambodian parties on Saturday launched campaigns for June 4 local elections against the backdrop of a political crackdown by Prime Minister Hun Sen, who has vowed to stay on after more than three decades in power.
Hun Sen's main rival, opposition leader Kem Sokha, held a rally with tens of thousands of supporters in the capital, Phnom Penh. He promised to fight corruption and give more power to local authorities in the Southeast Asian country.
Thousands of Hun Sen's supporters gathered in another part of the city.
The local elections next month could be a springboard for next year's general election.
Opponents accuse Hun Sen of stepping up political attacks ahead of the elections - stopping demonstrations, detaining activists and threatening journalists. Hun Sen has said that if his party doesn't win there could be civil war in the country devastated by the Khmer Rouge genocide in the 1970s.