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Cambodia's Ruling Party Faces Political Deadlock

Official results from Cambodia's July general election have confirmed that the ruling Cambodian People's Party won a majority of the 123 seats in the National Assembly. But the party is facing a political deadlock, as it tries to form a new government.

Cambodia's National Election Commission announced Saturday that, as expected, the ruling Cambodian People's Party, or CPP, won last month's election.

The CPP, led by Prime Minister Hun Sen, won nine more seats than the 64 it held in the previous parliament.

However, the party is still nine seats short of the two thirds majority required to form a government on its own, and the prospect of forming a coalition government does not look good.

The Funcinpec and Sam Rainsy parties are refusing to join a Hun Sen-led coalition, and want the prime minister to step down. A Sam Rainsy Party spokesman reaffirmed Saturday that his party and Funcinpec would not join a coalition headed by Hun Sen.

The two opposition parties also accused the CPP of vote-buying and other irregularities, but those complaints were dismissed by the election commission.

Funcinpec, which had been a partner of the CPP , saw its number of seats in the assembly dwindle from 43 to 26. The Sam Rainsy Party, named after its leader, gained ground, adding nine seats for a new total of 24.

In 1998, several people died when post-election riots broke out. This time, Funcinpec and the Sam Rainsy Party say they will discourage street protests.

Instead, the party leaders, Prince Norodom Ranariddh and Sam Rainsy himself, will travel overseas to seek international support for their so-called "Alliance of Democrats," and an end to Hun Sen's 18 years as leader.

They plan to meet while in the United States with former U.S. Secretary of State Madeleine Albright and Senator John McCain.

Hun Sen has said that he will remain in power whether or not the other parties join a coalition government, setting the stage for a political impasse.