A Change of Guard

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Saturday 31 August 2013

Cambodia opposition plans mass protest on Sept. 7 against poll results

PHNOM PENH, Aug. 28, 2013 (Xinhua) -- The opposition Cambodia National Rescue Party (CNRP) planned to hold a "nonviolent mass demonstration" on Sept. 7 against the contested election results in which the ruling party of long-serving Prime Minister Hun Sen won a majority of vote.
In its statement on Wednesday, the CNRP said the party would hold a press conference on Thursday at its headquarters in Phnom Penh in order to give details of the mass protest plan.
The country held a general election on July 28. Initial election results showed that the ruling Cambodian People's Party ( CPP) of Hun Sen won the election with 68 of the 123 parliamentary seats, while the CNRP of long-time opposition leader Sam Rainsy got the remaining 55 seats.
But the CNRP rejected the results, saying that it should win 63 seats, with the CPP getting the remaining 60 seats if alleged poll irregularities were fairly resolved.
Rainsy told his supporters at the capital's Freedom Park on Monday that he would call nonviolent and peaceful protests throughout the country if an independent committee was not established to look into poll irregularities.

Tep Nytha, secretary general of the National Election Committee, said there was no need to discuss the formation of any independent committee because the initial election results had been already released and the final results would be issued on Sept. 8.
The opposition party has repeatedly threatened to call mass protests against the poll results.
Deputy Prime Minister and Interior Minister Sar Kheng wrote a letter to Sam Rainsy on Aug. 8, saying that peaceful demonstrations are the rights of people, but protesters and their leaders must comply with the regulations of the law on peaceful demonstrations.
"In case that a protest has led to violence, destruction to national security, and damage to public or private properties, the protest leaders and offenders must take full responsibilities in front of the law for consequences arising from the protest," he warned.
Soldiers, police and military police with armored vehicles have been deployed around Phnom Penh City since early this month after the opposition's protest warning.
Under the country's constitution, a new parliament will be inaugurated no later than 60 days after the election.
Hun Sen said on Aug. 2 that a new parliament and a new government would be established as scheduled despite the opposition's boycott.
According to the constitution, he said, a new government would be formed by a 50 percent plus one majority, or 63 lawmakers, in the new parliament.
Hun Sen, 61, who has been in power for 28 years, will extend his power for five more years through the election victory.

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