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Hun Sen’s party claims majority, opposition cries foul


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Cambodia’s major ruling party won almost 60 percent of the votes in July 27 general election, AFP reported, quoting the preliminary official balloting results declared by the National Election Committee (NEC) on Saturday.

The results showed Hun Sen’s Cambodian People’s Party (CPP) won 58.1 percent of the votes, compared with 21.9 percent for its nearest rival, the main opposition Sam Rainsy party.

The voter turnout was 75.21 percent, or six million of the 8.1 million eligible voters, according to NEC official Sin Chum Bo. Of just over 6 million votes, the ruling party CPP took almost 3.5 million, and the opposition Sam Rainsy Party (SRP) 1.3 million, according to National Election Committee figures.

The remaining nine parties split the rest. The results were posted as temporary because parties now have 72 hours to lodge final complaints against the tally, a report from German news agency DPA said.

Lawmakers from SRP plus the Norodom Ranariddh Party and the Human Rights Party, which together hold about 31 seats of 123, held a press conference Friday to say they will boycott the swearing in of new parliamentarians on August 24.

They claim up to 1 million voters were unable to find their names on polling day on July 27, compromising the fairness of the elections.

Prime Minister Hun Sen has said the ceremony will go ahead regardless, even though some constitutional experts have disputed the legality of this move.

The CPP hold 90 seats and its partner, the royalist Funcinpec Party, holds two, but despite its poor showing, Funcinpec is expected to maintain its coalition position as members of the formerly dominant party are intricately woven into the army, police, government and public service.

Analysts say undoing the coalition, which was formed under the UN after it assisted the first democratic multi-party election in 1993, could cause instability and the CPP now has the numbers to overrule any opposition in the parliament, making it a moot issue.

The CPP earlier claimed it had captured at least 90 of the 123 seats in parliament, with opposition leader Sam Rainsy and three other small parties dividing the rest.

The Sam Rainsy party on Saturday rejected the outcome, saying the election had not been conducted freely and fairly, and demanding a re-run.

International monitors agreed the election was flawed, despite improvements in the electoral process compared to past polls here.

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