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Boston’s police commissioner plans to step aside

BOSTON — Edward Davis, the Boston police commissioner who rose to national prominence after the marathon bombings in April, said Monday that he was stepping down voluntarily from his job in the next month or two.

The announcement touched off speculation that he might be in line for a higher post, perhaps at the Department of Homeland Security, which has been without a leader since Secretary Janet Napolitano left this month.

But Davis, 57, said at a packed news conference at police headquarters here that he was leaving simply because “it’s time to go.” He said he would not engage in speculation about his future but that he had received “several offers” and it would take him a couple of months to sort them out. He has also been offered a fellowship at Harvard’s Institute of Politics and hopes to accept it.

Davis said his seven years as commissioner was twice the tenure of urban police commissioners. He also said he wanted to “clear the deck for the new administration.” The city is preparing to elect a replacement for Mayor Thomas M. Menino, who appointed Davis in 2006 and who is stepping aside early next year after 20 years as mayor.

Davis’ tenure has been an issue in the mayor’s race, with several of the dozen candidates saying he has not placed enough minority officers or women in the top ranks of the department. He defended his record Monday, saying 42 percent of his command staff were “people of color and diversity,” but he also said he had been hamstrung by certain court rulings. He urged the city’s future mayor to “keep diversity high on the list of priorities” and “make sure this Police Department is reflective of the community it serves.”

Davis drew wide praise for his role in the police response to the Boston Marathon bombings, which killed three people and injured more than 260 on April 15.

—Katharine Q. Seelye and Jess Bidgood,
The New York Times

Cambodian opposition boycotts opening of Parliament

BANGKOK — Despite a boycott over a disputed election that left dozens of seats vacant in the National Assembly, the king of Cambodia opened a new session of Parliament on Monday attended by the long-serving, authoritarian prime minister, Hun Sen, and his fellow party members.

King Norodom Sihamoni made no mention of the boycott in his speech. “The Cambodian nation must stand united,” the king said, according to news reports from Phnom Penh.

The king had sought in vain to broker an end to the acrimony after Hun Sen’s foes claimed widespread cheating in the July 28 election and rejected the official results, which left Hun Sen’s Cambodia People’s Party in the majority, though weakened.

But the prime minister, who has ruled the country for 28 years, appears willing to govern Cambodia without the cooperation of the opposition. Despite threats of more of the mass protests that have been disrupting the country, he is expected to begin his new term Tuesday in a largely procedural vote.

Still, Hun Sen has projected what some analysts see as unusual signs of weakness. He has made uncharacteristic, conciliatory gestures, including holding three recent meetings with Sam Rainsy, the leader of the opposition Cambodia National Rescue Party. One lasted almost five hours and centered on changes to the country’s electoral system.

Analysts disagree on whether Hun Sen, who in the past was dismissive of the opposition, is biding his time or has been significantly damaged by the election.

In its worst showing since 1998, the Cambodian People’s Party won just 68 seats of the 123 in the National Assembly, compared with 55 for the opposition, which made its greatest gains in a decade thanks to Rainsy’s newly unified party. The opposition says it would have captured the majority in a fair election.

—Thomas Fuller, The New York Times