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King To Invite Both Parties to Open Assembly

Cambodian King Norodom Sihamoni

Cambodian King Norodom Sihamoni

WASHINGTON - Following a weekend of opposition demonstrations and rejection of official election results, King Norodom Sihamoni on Monday called for the two political parties embroiled in Cambodia’s post-election deadlock to open a legislative meeting on the Sept. 28 deadline.

The opposition Cambodia National Rescue Party has said it will boycott the formation of the new National Assembly, following an election it says was marred by widespread irregularities. That would potentially legally prevent the formation of a government, with the ruling Cambodian People’s Party officially now holding just 68 of 123 National Assembly seats.

“I will invite all the elected members of the parliament of the fifth term to the first session on Sept. 23, 2013, at the National Assembly,” King Sihamoni said in a Sept. 9 letter to Im Soursdey, who is the chairman of the National Election Committee.

The letter follows the official announcement of election results on Sunday, which the Rescue Party has rejected. The party, which held a rally of some 20,000 supporters in the capital on Saturday, says it will continue to protest the results and demand an investigation into voter fraud and other irregularities.

Rescue Party Vice President Kem Sokha told reporters Sunday the opposition still plans on boycotting the Assembly session if a legitimate investigation into election complaints is not under taken.

“If they don’t solve it before the first session date of the National Assembly, we will not join the meeting,” he said. “We have informed the king already.”

King Sihamoni is currently in Beijing for a medical check-up, but he will return to Cambodia Sept. 11, a Royal Palace official said.