Opposition Fares Well in Election
King Norodom Sihanouk, who abdicated in 2004, died in October 2012 in Beijing at age 89. The country observed a week of mourning following his death. Observers questioned if his successor, Sihamoni, would begin to immerse himself in the country's politics or continue to keep a distance from such matters.
The July 2013 election for seats in the National Assembly was unexpectedly close. Preliminary results had the governing Cambodian People’s Party taking 68 out of 123 seats, or 55%, and and the opposition Cambodia National Rescue Party, headed by Sam Rainsy, winning 55 seats—45%. Rainsy alleged that votes of his supporters had been suppressed. Rainsy and Prime Minister Hun Sen agreed to cooperate with an investigation by the National Election Committee. The committee ratified the election results in early September, confirming the preliminary results. Massive protests broke out in Phnom Penh over the decision and the Cambodia National Rescue Party boycotted the opening of parliament, which voted Hun Sen in to another five-year term. Protests against Hun Sen continued throughout 2013. Demonstrators called for his resignation and also demanded higher wages for garment workers. The protests turned violent in January 2014, when police killed five garment workers.
U.S. State Dept. Country Notes:
National Institute of Statistics
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