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Nhiek Bun Chhay Signed Block Vote Bill into Law Tuesday - 2004-07-13

Acting head of state Nhiek Bun Chhay signed the "block vote" bill into law Tuesday as Senate president Chea Sim went to Thailand for medical treatment.

Mr. Nhek said he signed the bill for the sake of ending the political deadlock.

Opposition party president Mr. Sam Rainsy called the signing illegal. Mr. Rainsy said King Sihanouk has designated Mr. Chea Sim the power to sign or not sign the bill according to his conscience. And if Mr. Chea Sim does not want to sign it into law, the power to sign it has to go back to the King.

Before the signing, over 100 policemen were seen around the Senate building which is located close to Mr. Chea Sim's house and the Cambodian People's Party headquarters.

Mr. Nhiek denied he was forced to sign the bill and explained that the police's presence was a response to a bomb threat.