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Ruling People's Party claims victory in Cambodian election

The Cambodian People's Party has claimed electoral victory. The long-serving Prime Minister's Hun Sen's party beat out seven other parties to retain control.

Hun Sen's Cambodian People's Party (PPP) announced its victory in parliamentary elections on Sunday, saying it had won 68 of 123 seats.

"We can say we've won this election," party spokesman Khieu Kanharith told the AFP news agency.

Despite winning overall, with 55 parliamentary seats going to the opposition, the ruling party lost more than 20 seats in Sunday's election.

The National Election Committee has not yet published figures, but the information minister posted the above figures on his Facebook page, noting that they were the final count.

The leader of the opposition party, the Cambodia National Rescue Party's (CNRP) Sam Rainsy, had announced a victory earlier but later withdrew the claim.

Long reign

Hun Sen (pictured above), 60, has been at the helm in Cambodia, one of the world's poorest countries, for nearly three decades. He has been accused in the past of committing human rights violations and silencing detractors.

He cast his own ballot on Sunday morning near his home in Takhmau in Kandal province. His opponent, Rainsy, returned to Cambodia this month after four years of self-imposed exile, voting near his party's office in Phnom Penh, where he was greeted by enthusiastic supporters.

Sunday marked the fifth general election for Cambodia since 1993.

Reports of irregularity

The count of paper ballots began shortly after the polls closed on Sunday afternoon, with political party representatives keeping an eye on the process.

There were some reports of voting irregularities on social media and from election watchdog groups, but more information is unlikely to emerge until Monday.

tm/dr (Reuters, AFP)