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Cambodia opposition says mass protests last resort

Published on NewsOK Modified: August 16, 2013 at 12:38 am •  Published: August 16, 2013

PHNOM PENH, Cambodia (AP) — Cambodia's opposition leader whose party is disputing its narrow loss in last month's elections said Friday his supporters will take to the streets only as a last resort if their complaints of poll irregularities are not resolved fairly.

Cambodia National Rescue Party leader Sam Rainsy returned home Friday after a weeklong visit to the United States to lead the party's challenge in the country's political standoff, which many fear may lead to violent confrontations.

He told reporters at Phnom Penh's airport that he expects Prime Minister Hun Sen will allow an impartial, independent committee to probe allegations of widespread fraud by the ruling party during the July 28 elections.

"Because, nobody would recognize any government stemming from fake elections," he said.

In message posted on his Facebook page shortly before his return, he had said he "will immediately take part in the effort on the spot to find a peaceful solution to the political crisis arising from unprecedented and inacceptable irregularities."

The official election results support the claim of Hun Sen's Cambodian People's Party to have won have won 68 of the 123 seats in the National Assembly, against 55 for Sam Rainsy's party. The opposition claims to have actually won 63, even though the official number represents a substantial gain on the 29 seats it held in the last assembly.

The opposition has threatened to hold a massive demonstration if an impartial, independent committee does not resolve complaints over alleged widespread election irregularities.

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