Print options

September 23, 2013

Cambodian Parliament Opens Despite Opposition Boycott

by VOA News

Cambodia's political crisis took another turn Monday as opposition lawmakers boycotted Monday's opening session of parliament over allegations of electoral fraud.

King Norodom Sihamoni said Cambodia "must stand united" in his opening speech before the half-empty National Assembly, where only 68 lawmakers from Prime Minister Hun Sen's ruling Cambodian People's Party were in attendance.

The opposition Cambodian National Rescue Party won 55 seats in the July 28 parliamentary elections but says it was denied a victory due to widespread vote rigging. Protests against the election results turned violent earlier this month when a demonstrator was shot and killed during a clash with security forces.

Hun Sen and opposition leader Sam Rainsy held talks last week in an effort to end the crisis, but the prime minister rejected Rainsy's demand for an independent probe into the election.

Rainsy's party held its own symbolic ceremony far from the capital at the sacred temple of Angkor Wat.

Hun Sen is expected to be reinstalled as prime minister during Tuesday's session. The 61-year-old leader has ruled Cambodia with an iron fist since 1985, and has vowed to rule into his seventies.