Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen said Friday he would push to form a new government even if the opposition tries to block the process, suggesting that his party could force an end to a standoff over disputed election results. His Cambodian People’s Party and the country’s main opposition group are currently deadlocked with competing claims to victory in Sunday’s vote—an impasse that some political observers fear could last for months and delay the formation of a new parliament and government. But Mr. Hun Sen, already prime minister for 28 years, insisted that his party had enough lawmakers—after preliminary results show it won 68 out of 123 parliamentary seats—to form a new government. His comments contradict claims by some legal experts who say the opposition Cambodia National Rescue Party, which won 55 seats in the initial count, could block a new parliament by declining to take its seats. “We only need 63 seats to form a government,” said Mr. Hun Sen, 60 years old, while visiting farmers in Kandal province, which surrounds the capital, Phnom Penh.
Some nongovernmental groups believe that Cambodia’s constitution requires at least 120 lawmakers to approve the start of a new parliament. But Mr. Hun Sen said a 2006 constitutional amendment allows the process to go ahead with just a simple majority of the country’s lower house.
“There will be no deadlock for formation of a new parliament and a new government,” said the prime minister, who earlier this week had offered talks with the opposition on the opening of a new legislative session.
But Kem Sokha, deputy president of the opposition CNRP, told The Wall Street Journal that Mr. Hun Sen “can try to form a government but it is illegal.”
He added, “Without opposition in the National Assembly, the parliament would be invalid.”