August 6, 2018 / 6:28 AM / 2 months ago

Cambodia's Hun Sen says will give speech to U.N. after 'flawed election'

PHNOM PENH (Reuters) - Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen said on Monday he will give a speech to the United Nations General Assembly after claiming victory in a much-criticised election last month.

FILE PHOTO: Cambodia's Prime Minister Hun Sen (C) attends an inauguration of a new boat terminal in Phnom Penh, Cambodia August 1, 2018. REUTERS/Samrang Pring

Although official results won’t be announced until mid-August, Hun Sen’s ruling Cambodian People’s Party (CPP) said it had won all 125 parliamentary seats following the July 29 vote.

Critics have said the vote was a sham after the only viable opposition party, the Cambodia National Rescue Party (CNRP), was dissolved last year by the Supreme Court and 118 members were banned from politics for five years.

CNRP leader Kem Sokha was jailed on treason charges in September. He remains in pre-trial detention.

Hun Sen, 66, said he would travel to the United Nations if his new cabinet is formed by August to show the world that Cambodia does not need outside approval.

“I will go to the United Nations to make a speech for you to see that as a sovereign state, which held its own elections, we don’t need stamps of approval from anyone,” Hun Sen told a gathering of athletes on Monday in Phnom Penh.

Hun Sen last gave a speech to the U.N. General Assembly in September 2015 where he called on developed nations to fulfill their foreign aid pledges.

The Office of the U.N. Resident Coordinator in Cambodia said in an email to Reuters that the Cambodian government had not yet communicated to the U.N. who would be attending the annual General Assembly meeting in September.

Hun Sen said the National Election Committee (NEC) will announce official results on Aug. 15 and that, if there are no complaints, a new government will be formed in August.

Authorities launched a sweeping crackdown in the lead up to the vote targeting non-government organisations, rights groups and independent media.

The United States, which already imposed visa curbs on some Cambodian government members close to Hun Sen over the crackdown, said it would consider steps, including an expansion of visa restrictions in response to July’s “flawed election”.

Editing by Amy Sawitta Lefevre and Christian Schmollinger

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