The Cambodian parliament has unanimously passed two controversial election laws in an attempt to ensure free elections and avoid the post-election political deadlock that has plagued Cambodia in recent years.

The laws were supported by Prime Minister Hun Sen and Head of the opposition Cambodia National Rescue Party (CNRP) Sam Rainsy since July 2014, bringing an end to the CNRP’s parliament boycott.

The new election laws will be submitted to the Cambodian Senate for final review before being passed to the legislative branch and King Norodom Sihamoni for ratification.

According to the new laws, the number of parliament seats will increase to 125 from the current 123 seats and the campaign period will be reduced from 30 to 21 days. The laws also include restrictive provisions such as banning civil social organisations and foreigners from organising election campaigns for any political parties.

In addition, any political party that chooses to boycott parliament will forfeit their elected seats under the new laws.-VNA