Cambodian MPs reappoint Hun Sen despite poll row
By Suy Se, AFPPHNOM PENH - Cambodia's parliament on Tuesday approved a new five-year term for Prime Minister Hun Sen following weeks of political turmoil over his disputed election win.
September 24, 2013, 2:10 pm TWN
The controversial move came despite recent mass public protests and a boycott of the National Assembly by the opposition, which has alleged widespread fraud in the July polls.
The opposition Cambodia National Rescue Party (CNRP) refused to take its seats for the opening session of the lower house on Monday, saying the kingdom was sliding towards "dictatorship".
Despite its absence, King Norodom Sihamoni asked Hun Sen's Cambodian People's Party (CPP) to form a new cabinet.
All 68 ruling party lawmakers on Tuesday approved a list of government members with Hun Sen reappointed premier through a show of hands, according to an AFP reporter in parliament.
The CNRP, which is demanding an independent investigation into the July elections, has described the legislature as a "one-party parliament".
It has rejected the results of the polls, alleging widespread vote irregularities.
"We are honest to the people. We are honest to the nation. We will never betray the will of the people," opposition leader Sam Rainsy said in a video clip released to coincide with the start of parliament on Monday.
According to official results, the CPP won 68 seats against 55 for the CNRP.
The number is enough for the ruling party to rubber-stamp the appointment of Hun Sen and his ministers and to pass legislation in the lower house.
But experts said the government would be seen as lacking political legitimacy if it introduces laws without an opposition in parliament.
"Hun Sen will have to be wary of potential unrest as many Cambodian people are viewing the CPP -- and Hun Sen himself -- as ruling without legitimacy," said Ou Virak, president of the Cambodian Center for Human Rights.
"Throughout these elections, we have seen the Cambodian people making their voices heard and demanding real change."