07/28/2008, 00.00
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Cambodian People’s Party claims victory in elections

Prime Minister Hun Sen was set to win, but margin is higher than expected. Elections campaign was defined by border dispute with Thailand over Preah Vihear Temple.
Phnom Penh (AsiaNews/Agencies) – A few hours after polls closed the Cambodian People's Party (CPP) led by Prime Minister Hun Sen (see photo) claimed victory in yesterday’s elections. His victory was expected.

National Election Committee reported that initial returns from 11 of the nation's 24 provinces showed that the ruling party won nearly 60 per cent of the vote against the main opposition Sam Rainsy Party which took 22.9 per cent. This is more than what the CPP expected.

“We got at least seven more seats,’ CPP spokesperson Khieu Kanharith said in the party’s first public statement. The party held 73 in the outgoing legislature.

In his latest statement Mr Kanharith claimed 91 seats in the 123-seat parliament for his party.

The CCP was the majority party in the outgoing coalition government. Squabbles in the latter had led to Sunday’s vote.

Thousands of international observers monitored the elections and reported no major violation.

Main opposition party Sam Rainsy complained however that 200,000 voters in the capital were not able to vote because their names were not on the voters’ list.

Thai-Cambodian relations played an important role during the campaign. Both countries claim the Preah Vihear area, which is a potentially significant tourist attraction.

The two neighbours have accused each of raising the stake in the dispute by deploying more and more troops.

The UN Security Council announced that this week it will meet to discuss the issue.

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