The opposition Sam Rainsy Party abandons a planned boycott and attends with lawmakers from the ruling Cambodian People's Party
King Norodom Sihamoni (right) greets an honour guard in front of the National Assembly building in Phnom Penh on Wednesday. The monarch opened the country’s new parliament in the morning, before swearing in lawmakers at a ceremony at the Royal Palace that afternoon.
CAMBODIA'S new National Assembly was sworn in Wednesday in a ceremony presided over by King Norodom Sihamoni, giving the Cambodian People's Party a further five-year mandate following its landslide win in this year's national election.
During his official address to the Assembly, the King hailed the occasion as a "new opportunity" for the government to achieve political stability and economic development, and he urged lawmakers to "guarantee freedom of expression and respect human rights" throughout the Kingdom.
"I hope that the parliament will run smoothly and successfully fulfil its duties in the interest of the nation and the people," he told the Assembly.
"It is important to build social justice, good governance and continue with the reform of the law and the judicial system. We have to make an effort to integrate the country regionally and with the wider world."
Members of parliament were formally sworn-in by the King at the Royal Palace Wednesday afternoon, and the National Assembly will convene today to elect a president and appoint the new CPP-dominated government.
The inauguration took place in an atmosphere of reconciliation, with Sam Rainsy Party lawmakers attending, despite having threatened a boycott over allegations of electoral fraud in the July 27 national polls.
As late as Tuesday evening, SRP lawmakers were holding firm on their intention to the skip out, but agreed to attend after striking a compromise deal with government representatives that night.
"I think this has been a successful day in which all political parties participated," Prime Minister Hun Sen told reporters after the ceremony.
"This is a symbol that we will continue to develop the country for the next five years."
Due to the CPP's overwhelming majority in the new Assembly - the party won 90 out of 123 seats - it is the first time since 1993 that the government has avoided a political deadlock following an election.
Only four lawmakers were absent from the session, including three from the Human Rights Party, which decided to uphold the opposition's planned boycott.