The participation of ousted First Prime Minister Norodom Ranariddh and exiled parliament members in the upcoming Cambodia general election should be guaranteed, Foreign Minister Keizo Obuchi told Cambodian Deputy Prime Minister Sar Kheng on Oct. 16.According to Foreign Ministry officials, Obuchi also told Sar Kheng that the Cambodian government should pass necessary legislation for the election, scheduled to be held May 23, the ministry officials said. The deputy prime minister said Phnom Penh is encouraging the exiled parliament members, excluding Ranariddh, to return home and that their participation in the election poses no problems, according to the officials.Ranariddh, who was first prime minister, was overthrown by his political rival, Second Prime Minister Hun Sen, on July 6 as his four-year-old coalition government collapsed in violence.

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