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Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Sam Rainsy boycott - from Thailand

Sam Rainsy boycott - from Thailand

The opposition Sam Rainsy Party (SRP) boycotted the first sitting of the National

Assembly yesterday, July 15, which ushered in the third democratic mandate since

Cambodia emerged from communism in the early 1990s.

"The new government has failed to gain legitimacy, integrity and dignity and

therefore cannot represent the Cambodian people since it was formed following a violation

of the constitution," SRP chief Sam Rainsy said in a statement from Thailand.

Rainsy and all the 23 other elected SRP MPs were reported to be in Thailand.

The boycott follows the signing of a coalition agreement between the Cambodian People's

Party and Funcinpec that demolished Rainsy's hopes of pushing his party into government

through a previous alliance with Funcinpec.

Chea Sim, Acting Head of State, was unable to sign the agreement on behalf of the

King, leaving the task to his deputy, Nhiek Bun Chhay, prompting claims the final

deal could be in violation of Cambodia's constitution.

The signing was, however, approved by King Norodom Sihanouk, who is currently in

a self-imposed exile in North Korea.

"The SRP parliamentarians urge the international community, especially donor

countries, to strongly condemn the coup d'etat, not recognise the illegally formed

government and to act decisively," Rainsy said.

Rainsy's decision to boycott the assembly had little impact as 96 members in attendance

met the required two-thirds quorum for the 123-seat National Assembly.

Assembly President and Funcinpec chief Prince Norodom Ranariddh told reporters the

deal was done with the approval of Sihanouk and in the interests of the Cambodian


"Hun Sen and myself have not acted for personal ambitions but for the interests

of the poeople and the nation."

He said priorities included finalising legislation for the Khmer Rouge Tribunal and

Cambodia's accession to the World Trade Organisation.

Hun Sen added that he hoped the King would return from North Korea shortly.



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