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Returning Leaders Maintain Boycott Stance

Opposition leaders Sam Rainsy and Kem Sokha returned from a trip to France and Brussels this week, vowing to uphold their boycott of the new government but finding no support for their calls that a new vote be held.

"We will not join the swearing-in ceremony with the vote fraudsters," said Sam Rainsy, whose self-named party won 26 of 123 National Assembly seats in the election.

However, no country that either leader visited went as far as saying July's national election was not free and fair, and there was little support for their calls for a revote, both men said Monday.

"The French government and the EU will push the Cambodian government to correct the wrongdoings of this election," Sam Rainsy said. "Cambodia cannot walk out of the democratic way, especially the promotion of a power balance in the country's leadership."

Officials of the French government and the European Commission, which is based in Brussels, also promised to discuss with the new government reforms to the National Election Committee, said Kem Sokha, head of the Human Rights Party.

He too said his party would uphold the boycott. "But we aren't giving up our seats."

CPP officials maintain that a boycott of the swearing-in ceremony for new National Assembly leaders, scheduled for Sept. 24, will lead to the redistribution of opposition seats among other parties.