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Sunday, August 10, 2008

Cambodia releases final count in election

Phnom Penh - Cambodia released the final vote count from last month's general election on Saturday, showing the full extent to which the country's two main parties dominated the polls.

Of just over 6 million votes, the ruling Cambodian People's 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.

However, 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 .
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