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Cambodian opposition claims poll victory amidst media speculation

Cambodia’s opposition party claimed an upset victory Sunday in an election the longstanding incumbent had been expected to easily win, but called on supporters to wait for the official results.

The claim, made in an emailed statement by theCambodia National Rescue Party, was impossible to immediately verify, as no results had yet been released by the authorities.

At a news conference after the statement was released, party leader Sam Rainsy was less clear about whether the claim was that his party had actually won a majority at the polls, stressing that it was a victory for the country.

There was no immediate reaction from the ruling Cambodian People’s Party of Prime Minister Hun Sen, who has ruled Cambodia for nearly three decades. 

An opposition victory would be an astonishing surprise. On Saturday, Rainsy had virtually acknowledged that his party would lose the election, saying the polls were unfair but that his battle for democracy would go on.

Rainy has a reputation for provocative statements that have sometimes landed him in trouble. His claim, coming before the release of official results or any statements from the ruling party, could be seen as a pre-emptive move against Hun Sen’s side.
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