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Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Royalist Parties U-Turn and Accept Cambodia Poll Results

Royalist Parties U-Turn and Accept Cambodia Poll Results

PHNOM PENH (AFP) — Cambodia's royalist parties said Tuesday they would accept the results of last month's election, despite their previous claims that Prime Minister Hun Sen's ruling party had rigged the polls.

The royalist Funcinpec party and its offshoot the Norodom Ranariddh Party (NRP) joined opposition leader Sam Rainsy late last month to complain that thousands of people were left off voter lists in the July 27 election.

Hun Sen's Cambodian People's Party (CPP) claimed victory as early results showed they won nearly 60 percent of the vote, and in separate statements released Tuesday the royalists said they would accept that outcome.

"NRP considers that the election ... was transparent, free, fair and in accordance with democratic process in Cambodia," the party headed by former Funcinpec leader Prince Norodom Ranariddh said.

His old outfit, meanwhile, said: "Although there are some technical irregularities, Funcinpec party publicly supports and accepts the temporary results of the election."

Their apparent u-turn comes after Hun Sen said last week he would include Funcinpec in the new government. He also said another party with two seats in parliament -- and apparent reference to the NRP -- had approached him.

Early results released by the National Election Committee (NEC) show the CPP winning 58.1 percent of the vote, compared with 21.9 percent for its nearest rival, the Sam Rainsy Party.

Hun Sen's CPP has said it captured at least 90 of the 123 parliament seats up for grabs. Funcinpec and the NRP are believed to have won only two seats each.

The final NEC tally will be announced in September, ahead of the forming of a new government.

International monitors have said the election was flawed and did not meet key standards, despite a more peaceful campaign and improvements in the electoral process compared to past polls here.

Sam Rainsy has estimated that one million registered voters were cut from the rolls and has demanded a re-vote.

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