28 Jul 2008

Ruling party claims victory in Cambodia polls

10:09 am on 28 July 2008

Cambodian prime minister Hun Sen's party claimed a sweeping victory Sunday's general election, giving him another five years in power.

Cambodian People's Party spokesman Khieu Kanharith said the party had won 91 of the 123 seats in parliament, although ballots were still being counted.

Full results from the poll are not expected until late on Monday.

The vote passed off largely without incident in a country where democratic politics have frequently been marred by violence.

However, the opposition Sam Rainsy party complained that thousands of people in the capital Phnom Penh, where its support is strongest, were left off voter lists.

Hun Sen, who has been prime minister since 1985, had been widely tipped to win due to a booming economy that has helped improve the quality of life in one of the world's poorest nations, and due to nationalist sentiment sparked by the border feud with Thailand.

He gained extra support for taking a tough stance in a dispute with Thailand over a 900-year-old temple on their border.

Both Bangkok and Phnom Penh have sent troops to the Preah Vihear ruins, although so far the only clashes have been verbal and diplomatic, not military.