>Hun Sen elected as Cambodian PM for five more years

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Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen walked past the guards of honour at parliament house. He has been re-elected at a session boycotted by parties disputing the election result.

PHNOM PENH (AFP) — Cambodia’s parliament re-elected Hun Sen as prime minister Thursday, extending his 23-year grip on power, at a session boycotted by parties disputing the results of the July general election.

Only 94 of the 123 elected members of parliament showed up, and unanimously raised their hands to approve the nomination of the parliament’s president and the new government.

Hun Sen promised before the session that his government would use its new five-year term to “accelerate development and push for deep and wide reforms” of the southeast Asian nation.

His Cambodian People’s Party (CPP) took 90 seats in the July 27 election, while the main opposition Sam Rainsy Party (SRP) received 26 seats.

The royalist parties — Funcinpec and the Norodom Ranariddh Party — picked up two seats each, and the Human Rights Party (HRP) three seats.

SRP and HRP lawmakers did not attended Thursday’s session and have claimed widespread irregularities in the July poll.

The opposition leaders could not be immediately reached for comment.

The CPP’s overwhelming majority in parliament means this year is the first time since 1993 that the country has not been left in political deadlock after an election.

The previous general election, in July 2003, led to a year of stalemate as parties wrangled over forming a coalition government.

Hun Sen has a reputation for trampling on human rights to secure power, but a booming economy has bolstered his standing in a country still struggling to lift itself from the ranks of the world’s poorest.

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