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Radhsphea Ney Preah Recheanachakr Kampuchea (National Assembly)

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Parliament name Parliament
Structure of parliament Bicameral
Chamber name (generic / translated) Radhsphea Ney Preah Recheanachakr Kampuchea / National Assembly
Related chamber (for bicameral parliaments) Senate
Dates of election / renewal (from/to) 27 July 2008
Purpose of elections Elections were held for all the seats in the National Assembly on the normal expiry of the members' term of office.
On 9 June 2007, Prime Minister Hun Sen called elections to the National Assembly for 27 July 2008.

Hun Sen has been in power since 1985 when he became Prime Minister of the government that was installed after the fall of the Khmer Rouge regime in 1979.

In the previous elections in 2003, Hun Sen's Cambodian People's Party (CPP) won 73 of the 123 seats in the National Assembly. Its coalition partner, the United National Front for an Independent, Neutral, Peaceful and Co-operative Cambodia (FUNCINPEC), took 26; while the main opposition Sam Rainsy Party (SRP) obtained 24. The CPP formed once again a coalition government with the FUNCINPEC in order to secure the two-thirds majority required to pass bills in the National Assembly. In March 2006, the National Assembly amended the constitution to enable it to pass bills with a simple majority.

In October 2006, the FUNCINPEC leader and Speaker of the National Assembly, Prince Norodom Ranariddh, lost the party leadership to Mr. Keo Puth Rasmeyand (the son-in-law of former King Norodom Sihanouk) and formed his own self-named party. Mr. Heng Samrin succeeded him as Speaker. The FUNCINPEC subsequently filed a criminal lawsuit against Prince Ranariddh for breach of trust in handling the sale of the party's land. Prince Ranariddh left the country and has been in exile in Malaysia ever since. In March 2007, the Court of First Instance in Phnon Penh sentenced him in absentia to 18 months in prison and ordered him to pay US$ 150,000 compensation to the FUNCINPEC. His appeal was rejected by the Appeal Court, and the Supreme Court had not made its ruling before the 2008 elections. Prince Ranariddh led his campaign from Malaysia, calling in vain for an opposition alliance.

The FUNCINPEC experienced difficulties following internal rifts. Consequently, the 2008 elections, which 12 parties contested, saw a duel between the CPP and the SRP. In June, Hun Sen announced that the CPP would form a coalition government only with the FUNCINPEC, and it would form a new government on its own should the FUNCINPEC fail to win any seats.

Hun Sen campaigned on his government's achievements in ushering in peace and stability after defeating the Khmer Rouge regime. He promised to provide better infrastructure, including roads, bridges, hospitals and schools. His free-market policies reportedly contributed to the country's economic development, resulting in over 11 per cent annual economic growth between 2004 and 2007 in the country of 14 million inhabitants.

The SRP was led by Mr. Sam Rainsy, a prominent opposition figure and a longtime rival of Prime Minister Hun Sen. It accused the government of corruption and failing to combat widespread poverty: around 50 per cent of Cambodians reportedly live on less than US$ 1 a day. The SRP pledged to work for human rights and to tackle corruption and poverty.

Prior to the elections, defamation proceedings were initiated against Mr. Rainsy following an April 2008 speech in which he alluded to the participation of members of the current government in the Khmer Rouge regime. A court request in June to temporarily lift Mr. Rainsy's parliamentary immunity was postponed until after the elections. In December 2005 the latter had been sentenced in absentia to 18 months in prison and US$ 14,000 in fines and compensation for defaming the Prime Minister. He returned to the country in February 2006 after receiving a royal pardon by King Norodom Sihamoni at Hun Sen's request.

The Human Rights Party, formed in July 2007 by Mr. Khem Sokha, pledged to bring about true justice, freedom and democracy to Cambodia. It reportedly was popular in the countryside.

Traditional election issues were pushed into the background by a military standoff in mid-July 2008 between Cambodia and Thailand over the Preah Vihear temple site situated on the border between the two countries. The International Court of Justice awarded the temple site to Cambodia in 1962 but the land around the temple (4.6 kilometers) continued to be a subject of dispute. On 8 July, the UNESCO World Heritage Committee decided to list the temple as a World Heritage Site in Cambodia. Demonstrators from Thailand assembled near the temple and the Thai government sent troops to the border, followed by the deployment of Cambodian troops. Hun Sen's popularity was reportedly boosted by his firm stance. Both countries agreed to resume negotiations on the border row.

On 27 July, 75.21 per cent of the country's 8.1 million eligible voters turned out at the polls.

Mr. Rainsy (SRP) demanded that the polls be invalidated, claiming that some 200,000 registered voters in the capital - a traditional SRP stronghold - had been unable to cast their ballots because their names had been omitted from the voters' list.

European Union (EU) observers said the elections had fallen short of a number of key international standards for democratic elections, but welcomed the fact that the election campaign had been more peaceful and open than in previous elections. They reported that about 50,000 people could not find their names on the voters' list on polling day.

On 28 July, the National Election Committee (NEC) announced preliminary results, giving 90 seats to the CPP. The SRP became the second largest party, winning 26 seats. The Human Rights Party and the Norodom Ranariddh Party won three and two seats respectively. The FUNCINPEC took only two. Following a Supreme Court ruling of 30 July to uphold the judgment of the Appeal Court, Prince Ranariddh was barred from taking up one of the seats won by his party.

On 31 July, the SRP, the Human Rights Party, and the Norodom Ranariddh Party filed a complaint to King Norodom Sihamoni against election officials claimind they had prevented one million people from voting. On 2 September, the NEC confirmed that the final results showed no changes to the preliminary results.

On 24 September, the newly elected National Assembly held its first session. The following day, it re-elected Mr. Heng Samrin (CPP) as Speaker.

The CPP and the FUNCINPEC once again formed a coalition government. The 26-member cabinet dominated by the CPP was approved by the National Assembly on 25 September.

On 25 September, the King granted Prince Ranariddh a royal pardon at the request of Prime Minister Hun Sen. Prince Ranariddh returned from exile on 30 September.
Voter turnout
Round no 127 July 2008
Number of registered electors
Blank or invalid ballot papers
Valid votes

Distribution of votes
Round no 1
Political Group Candidates Votes %
Cambodian People's Party (CPP) 3'492'374 58.11
Sam Rainsy Party (SRP) 1'316'714 21.91
Human Rights Party 397'816 6.62
Norodom Ranariddh Party 337'943 5.62
United National Front for an Independent, Neutral, Peaceful and Co-operative Cambodia (FUNCINPEC) 303'764 5.05
Distribution of seats
Round no 1
Political Group Total Number of women
Cambodian People's Party (CPP) 90 14
Sam Rainsy Party (SRP) 26 6
Human Rights Party 3 0
Norodom Ranariddh Party 2 0
United National Front for an Independent, Neutral, Peaceful and Co-operative Cambodia (FUNCINPEC) 2 0
Distribution of seats according to sex
Percent of women
Distribution of seats according to age
Distribution of seats according to profession
- National Election Committee
- National Assembly (13.08.2008, 08.09.2008, 30.10.2009, 14.12.2011)

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