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Wednesday, August 5, 1998 Published at 11:00 GMT 12:00 UK

World: Asia-Pacific

Hun Sen wins Cambodia election

The National Election Committee has yet to hear appeals on fraud

Hun Sen's ruling Cambodian People's Party has been declared the winner of July's general elections despite mounting opposition allegations of fraud.

Caroline Gluck reporting from Phnom Penh: "Cambodia needs all the help it can get"
The CPP won just over 41% of the vote, while rival Prince Norodom Ranariddh's Funcinpec party won 31.5%, according to the National Election Committee (NEC).

Seats in the 122-member National Assembly will be allocated on a proportional basis later in August after the NEC hears complaints of irregularities from opposition parties and the official final result is issued.

[ image: Hun Sen's Cambodian Peoples' Party: victory]
Hun Sen's Cambodian Peoples' Party: victory
The CPP is expected to end up with 64 seats, short of the two-thirds of members of parliament the constitution requires to approve a new government.

Opposition parties have already alleged widespread fraud and irregularities and more than 300 complaints have been lodged against partial returns from individual vote counting stations.

On Wednesday, the Sam Rainsy Party alleged that more than 45,000 blank ballot papers had gone missing before the election in two provinces, citing documents from the NEC and the provincial election committees.

The party said the ballots might be used to stuff certain boxes before a recount can be done and urged the international community to take notice of any tampering.

The opposition has warned that if their allegations of electoral fraud are not properly investigated, including in some areas a re-count or a fresh vote, they may boycott the new parliament.

Prince Ranariddh - who was ousted by his junior coalition partner and co-premier Hun Sen in a violent takeover in July 1997 - and former finance minister Sam Rainsy, who heads the party bearing his name, say they want their claims of widespread electoral fraud by the CPP investigated before discussing a coalition offer from Hun Sen.

Hun Sen warned his opposition that he was prepared to go it alone if a coalition proved impossible to broker.

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