June 25, 2017 6:53 pm JST

Cambodia ruling party big winner in local elections

At 89.52%, voter turnout sharply up from 65% in 2012 local elections

Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen of the Cambodian People's Party shows off his ballot paper next to his wife, Bun Rany, foreground left, before voting in local elections at Takhmau polling station in Kandal province, southeast of Phnom Penh, Cambodia, Sunday, June 4, 2017. © AP

PHNOM PENH (Kyodo) -- Cambodia's ruling party of Prime Minister Hun Sen won over two-thirds of the commune chief posts in this month's nationwide local elections, according to official results released Sunday by the National Election Committee.

In the June 3 local elections for 11,572 seats in 1,646 commune councils, the ruling Cambodian People's Party won 1,156 of the commune chief posts and 6,503 seats overall, the results showed.

The opposition Cambodia National Rescue Party won 5,007 seats but only 489 commune chief posts, or 29.7 percent of the total.

Only one commune chief post was won by any of the 10 other political parties that fielded candidates.

Elections are held every five years in Cambodia for councils composed of five to 11 members for communes, or clusters of villages.

In the 2012 elections, the ruling CPP won 1,592 of the 1,633 commune chief positions up for grabs, while the now defunct opposition Sam Rainsy Party won 22, the Human Rights Party 18, and the royalist FUNCINPEC party one.

The results reflected popular support for the various parties and the challenge opposition parties face to attract more votes in next year's national election.

Voter turnout in the latest local elections was 89.52 percent, or approximately 7 million of the 7.8 million Cambodians registered to vote, according to the NEC. That was up sharply from about 65 percent in the 2012 local elections.

Nearly 2 million Cambodians did not register to vote as they are working in foreign countries, most in Thailand and in South Korea.

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