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PM Thanks King for Country's Stability

Cambodia has between 20 to 30 years of stability ahead, thanks in part to King Norodom Sihamoni, Prime Minister Hun Sen said Tuesday, in a nod to the third anniversary of the monarch's coronation.

Hun Sen said that because he was born in the Year of the Dragon and King Sihamoni in the Year of the Snake, the two could provide stability for the nation.

Cambodia's economy has grown since Sihamoni's accession, Hun Sen pointed out.

"Throne stability, this is very important," Hun Sen said. "When a crown crisis happens, Cambodia will have a problem."

"The dragon and the snake are OK, and they have the same elements," he said. "The dragon defends the snake, and the snake defends the dragon," he said. "It is OK, they can co-exist."

Rights activists credited democracy and pluralism for Cambodia's relative stability.

However, Thun Saray, head of the human rights group Adhoc, said that security depends on "strong democratic institutions" not "one individual."

"Speaking frankly, stability in Cambodia is because of the democratic process, and the participation of other parties," Koul Panha, director of the election monitoring group Comfrel, said. "And The international associations have played an important role."

Opposition leader Sam Rainsy said stability with "dictator, corruption, a devastated nation, poor citizens" was not the stability his party sought.