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Cambodia’s Ruling Party Takes Full Control of Parliament

Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen gestures while speaking in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, on August 1. Hun Sen has been criticized for silencing opposition voices.
Cambodia's Ruling Party Takes Full Control of Parliament
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The Ruling People’s Party of Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen has won all 125 parliamentary seats in the national election that took place last month.

International observers and outlawed opposition forces have criticized the results.

The National Election Committee said Wednesday that 83 percent of people who could vote completed ballots.

The opposition Cambodia National Rescue Party, or CNRP, was not permitted to take part in the election. The Supreme Court dissolved the party last year.

Nineteen smaller parties did take part in the election, but gained little support.

The unbalanced election results ensure that Hun Sen will extend his 33 years in power when the new parliament is seated next month.

Sam Rainsy is the exiled leader of the CNRP. In a written statement, he accused the National Election Committee of inflating the number of voters. He said the government group was under the control of the People’s Party.

Hun Sen’s People’s Party nearly lost its majority in the 2013 national election.

Independent international election observers said they would not take part in this year’s vote after the CNRP was dissolved. Observers consider that action the last step in a campaign against all opposition voices in the country.

Other recent actions against opposition voices include the arrest of the co-leader of the CNRP on charges of treason and the closure of The Cambodia Daily newspaper.

U.S. State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert called the election “flawed.” She said the United States would expand visa restrictions put in place last year on some high-level Cambodian officials. Nauert said the action targeted individuals who were “responsible for the most notable anti-democratic actions” taken before the election.

She said new restrictions could be placed on individuals inside and outside the government.

However, a Cambodian spokesman said the restrictions would not be effective.

Observers say the prime minister has tight control of all parts of the government. They note that the opposition has no National Assembly seats and no parliamentary immunity with which to criticize the government.

I’m Mario Ritter.

Richard Green reported this story for VOA News. Mario Ritter adapted it for VOA Learning English. Ashley Thompson was the editor.

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Words in This Story

flawed –adj. having a mistake, fault or weakness

inflate - v. to increase prices, costs, etc., in a way that is not normal or expected

immunity –n. special protection from what is required for most people by law