PHNOM PENH: Cambodia’s opposition party has called on the nation’s king to resolve a dispute over elections in July which saw strongman Prime Minister Hun Sen retain power.
Preliminary official poll results handed victory to Hun Sen’s long-ruling Cambodian People’s Party, dismaying the opposition Cambodia National Rescue Party (CNRP) which alleges massive vote-rigging.
The CNRP, which has so far unsuccessfully demanded an independent probe into the election, has said thousands of its supporters will protest peacefully on Saturday in one of the largest opposition demonstrations for a decade.
Final poll results are expected to be announced by September 8, after which there will be no further legal challenges available to the opposition.
With time running out, its leader Sam Rainsy on Monday sent a letter to King Norodom Sihamoni urging him to step in and break the impasse. “I request your majesty to intervene in order to find a resolution for the irregularities in the election with transparency and justice that the Cambodian people want,” Rainsy said in the letter which emerged yesterday.
Cambodia’s king is the official head of state but analysts say the office no longer exercises political power, giving Hun Sen — who has been in office for nearly three decades — full control.
Security forces and armoured vehicles have been deployed around the capital since the July 28 poll, in a move the opposition decried as intimidation.