Cambodia ruling party claims poll victory

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Bangkok, Jul 28 (UNI) Cambodia's ruling party has claimed victory in the weekend national election with initial results giving it a clear majority in parliament, ending more than a decade of coalition governance.

Although official results will be announced only later in the week, Prime Minister Hun Sen's Cambodian People's Party (CPP) said today it had won 91 of the 123 National Assembly seats.

A CPP spokesman said the party was, however, willing to consider a partnership in government with one of the opposition parties.

The CPP, Cambodia's longest ruling party, was challenged by the Sam Rainsy Party (SRP) named after its leader. The royalist Funcinpec party, a former government coalition partner suffered a major setback in the polls failing to hold on to most of its 26 seats in the last parliament.

However, rivals accused the ruling party of electoral abuse. The SRP has demanded a new poll in the capital city, its traditional support base, where the party alleges large-scale deletion of voter names.

''We will not accept the results, the election has not been free and fair. We want to cancel the results of more than 2,000 polling stations in Phnom Penh ... the CPP is cheating,'' said SRP leader Sam Rainsy.

Rights groups have accused the ruling party of voter intimidation ahead of the polls. An SRP radio station was closed down by the police the day before the vote and Mr Rainsy said several party members were arrested.

UNI XC RJ KN1719

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