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Cambodia Adopts Controversial Political Parties Legislation


FILE - In this Aug. 16, 2015, file photo, Sam Rainsy, leader of the opposition Cambodia National Rescue Party, greets his party supporters upon his arrival at Phnom Penh International Airport in Phnom Penh, Cambodia. The Phnom Penh Municipal Court on Tuesday, Nov. 8, 2016, found Sam Rainsy, country's exiled opposition leader, guilty of defamation for alleging that a senior government official sought to inflate Prime Minister Hun Sen's online popularity by buying "likes" for his Facebook page. (AP Photo/Heng Sinith, File)

The legislation was passed by a unanimous vote of the ruling in the National Assembly amid an opposition boycott of proceedings.

Cambodia has adopted controversial new legislation that amends the law governing political parties that could lead to opposition parties being dissolved.

The legislation was passed by a unanimous vote of the ruling in the National Assembly amid an opposition boycott of proceedings.

Among other changes, the amendments mean that politicians with criminal convictions will be barred from holding senior positions in parties and that parties may be dissolved by the Supreme Court if they break the rules.

It also places restrictions on foreign funding of political parties.

The opposition’s 55 lawmakers declined to attend the vote, saying the legislation would “cause chaos in the country” and that it was “contradictory to the principle of multiparty democracy and intends to exploit the opposition.”

Leng Peng Long, a National Assembly spokesman, said the new rules would come into immediate effect.

“The opposition party boycott indicates clearly that they do not want to engage in a dialogue. We, the ruling party, often want to practice the dialogue culture, but they refused the request,” he added.

The amendments have provoked strong criticism from analysts and the international community.

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