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Former Monarch Praises Hun Sen 'Prestige'

Former king Norodom Sihanouk welcomed the appointment of Prime Minister Hun Sen to lead the next administration, calling him “deserving the prestige” in a letter posted his official Web site.

Hun Sen was appointed premier following a ceremony Sept. 24 boycotted by three Human Rights Party lawmakers, who claim the results of July’s national election were fraudulent.

Norodom Sihanouk applauded Hun Sen as a “supreme statesman,” saying the premier “is the better guide, smart, most talented and of the highest nationalism, who has achieved great victories in all fields in building achievements across the country.”

Ou Virak, president of the Cambodian Center for Human Rights, said the letter of praise was a shift in tone from the former monarch, who had criticized Hun Sen in the past.

Both royal parties, Funcinpec and the Norodom Ranariddh Party, slipped in recent elections, including widespread losses for Funcinpec in the 2006 commune elections and a modest showing—two lawmakers each—in July’s polls.