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Cambodian opposition stages new rally in capital

October 6, 2013

PHNOM PENH, Cambodia (AP) — Cambodia’s main opposition party staged another mass rally in the capital on Sunday, vowing to keep up its political fight in the aftermath of national elections they say were rigged.

Around 10,000 people turned out for the protest in Phnom Penh. The demonstration was part of a more than two-month opposition push to demand an independent probe be set up to investigate alleged cheating during the July vote.

Prime Minister Hun Sen’s ruling party has steadfastly refused the demand, however, and both sides are in a stalemate, with the opposition boycotting parliament.

Sam Rainsy’s Cambodia National Rescue Party issued a statement later Sunday reiterating much of a strategy that has so far proven unsuccessful. It said the party would hold more protests nationwide, call a general strike, lobby foreign governments and gather support for a petition asking the U.N. to support the party’s election claims.

Hun Sen is one of Asia’s longest-serving and most authoritarian leaders. He has run Cambodia since 1985 with little tolerance for opposition, propelled by his well-financed political machine.

During the July election, though, his party performed unexpectedly weakly, emerging with its poorest results in more than a decade to see its majority wither in the 123-seat National Assembly.

The opposition, running on a newly unified slate, boosted its number of elected lawmakers to 55, up from 29.

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