Cambodian parliament to meet despite opposition boycott

Cambodian parliament to meet despite opposition boycott
Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen (R) shakes hands with Sam Rainsy, president of the Cambodia National Rescue Party (CNRP), during a meeting at Cambodia's National assembly.

PHNOM PENH - Cambodia's parliament is set to convene on Monday despite a boycott by the opposition, which is demanding an independent probe into disputed elections that led to mass protests and violence.

The ruling Cambodian People's Party (CPP) insisted the meeting - the first since the July polls won by strongman Hun Sen - would go ahead regardless of the political deadlock in the country.

"This is an absolute position of the CPP, which has won the election," a senior CPP member told AFP, adding that Hun Sen is likely to be sworn in for another five-year term on Tuesday.

According to official results of the July election, the CPP won 68 seats against 55 for the Cambodia National Rescue Party (CNRP) but the opposition has rejected the tally, alleging widespread vote irregularities.

Dissatisfaction with the election saw three days of demonstrations earlier this month, which descended into violence when a protester was shot dead as security forces clashed with a stone-throwing crowd.

Security has been stepped up around official buildings in recent days, with anti-riot police and barbed wire deployed along roads near parliament in the capital Phnom Penh.

Hun Sen, who suffered his worst poll result in 15 years, agreed to find a peaceful solution to the dispute in talks with rival Sam Rainsy but he has rejected opposition CNRP calls for an independent probe.

The opposition said all of its MPs took an oath on Saturday that they would not attend the parliament.

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