08/12/2013, 00.00
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Cambodian elections: landslide victory of Hun Sen in provinces

The ruling party won 19 of the 24 provinces that comprise the country. Final data on parliamentary seats still pending, but it seems likely to confirm the initial results. The opposition calls for UN investigation on the ballot. United States and the EU admit possible fraud, but investigations "up to Phnom Penh."

Phnom Penh (AsiaNews / Agencies) - The Cambodian People's Party (CPP), led by Prime Minister Hun Sen, has won an overwhelming majority at the provincial level in the general elections of 28 July. This is what emerges from the official results released today by the National Electoral Commission (NEC), supporting the government claims of a solid victory in parliamentary seats, while the official results for the Lower House has yet to be announced.

The electoral challenge between the government and opposition is the most serious political crisis that Prime Minister Hun Sen has faced in his 28 years of unchallenged domination of the country. A nation that has recently experienced rapid economic growth thanks to the influence of China, with Beijing among the closest allies of Phnom Penh.

This morning, the NEC released the official data at the provincial level: the CPP won 19 of the 24 provinces that comprise the country, putting it ahead in the state government for the coming years. The Commission has not yet announced the date when the official results of the relevant parliamentary seats will be published, but according to experts they should be "in line" with the numbers that have so far emerged in the aftermath of the vote.

Strong political tensions have been mounting in Cambodia. Analysts and local experts fear that the conflict between Prime Minister Hun Sen - fresh from a victory marked by allegations of fraud - and the opposition leader Sam Rainsy - of the Cambodia National Rescue Party (CNRP) - could escalate into violent protests. Both claim victory in the elections of July 28 last, when the CPP won 68 out of 123 parliamentary seats thus ensuring a majority.

For the opposition (55 seats) the outcome of the vote was fraudulently changed and therefore it is calling for the formation of an independent commission, led by the UN, to promote the third and impartial investigation on the outcome of the polls.

The United States and the European Union have expressed "concerns" about irregularities during the vote. Both have added, however, that investigations of fraud are "the responsibility of the Cambodian authorities."


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