09/24/2013, 00.00
CAMBODIA
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Phnom Penh: parliament approves new mandate for Hun Sen as opposition boycotts session

In office for 28 years, the prime minister will rule for an additional five years. Pro-democracy parties stay away from session, ask for an independent commission into alleged election fraud. New protests break out in the capital and across the country.

Phnom Penh (AsiaNews/Agencies) - The Cambodian parliament gave a new five-year mandate to Prime Minister Hun Sen, leader of the ruling Cambodian People's Party (CPP) who has led the country for almost 30 years .

The Assembly met in Phnom Penh where it gave the prime minister-elect the green light to form a new government, despite the opposition boycott because of alleged fraud in last July's election.

Hun Sen, in power since 1985, was sworn in on Tuesday.

The opposition Cambodia National Rescue Party (CNRP), headed by Sam Rainsy, did not participate in the parliamentary session, asking instead for an "independent inquiry" into the poll.

Hun Sen's appointment as prime minister comes after weeks of protests and political deadlock in parliament. In his speech to the assembly, the leader said his new term was "a historic day for Cambodia", adding that the elections were "free, fair, just and transparent".

In his meeting with reporters, the historic leader of the CPP added that "the door is not closed yet for negotiation with the opposition party, but they have to accept the election results and swear-in first".

In July's election, the ruling party won 68 seats out of 123, with the remaining 55 going to the opposition.

So far, the government has rejected calls for an independent inquiry. For this reason, the CNRP announced "mass protests in Phnom Penh and nationwide" for the next few days against the swearing-in of 61-year-old Prime Minister Hun Sen.

Demonstrations had already taken place at the beginning of the month with one dead in clashes between security forces and opponents.

 

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