Sunday, 27 July 2008

Polls open in Cambodia with PM Hun Sen favoured to win

PHNOM PENH (AFP) - Polls opened in Cambodia on Sunday for legislative elections widely expected to extend Prime Minister Hun Sen's 23-year grip on power.

All 15,000 polling stations opened around 7:00 am (0001 GMT) for eight hours of balloting, Tep Nytha, head of the National Election Committee, told AFP.

"We hope everything will go smoothly, as scheduled," he said.

Scores of people lined up at polling stations around the capital Phnom Penh, waiting for the doors to open. The balloting was being conducted under the eyes of 13,000 domestic and international observers.

Hun Sen's Cambodian People's Party (CPP) says it wants to expand its majority in the 123-seat parliament so that it can form a single-party government.

The CPP currently has 73 seats, and party officials say they expect to cinch at least eight more.

More than eight million people are registered to vote. Official results could take days to be announced, but the parties are expected to release their own tallies on Sunday evening.

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