PHNOM PENH, Cambodia (AP) " Cambodia's National Assembly has passed a bill barring political parties from having links with convicted criminals, a move aimed at keeping the opposition Cambodia National Rescue Party from capitalizing on its association with its popular former leader, Sam Rainsy.

Sam Rainsy has been convicted of criminal defamation and similar offenses by courts generally seen as politically biased. He already resigned his party leadership and membership in February after a law was passed making parties liable for dissolution if their leaders had criminal convictions.

Monday's amendments of the law on political parties was boycotted by the opposition, but passed unanimously by all 66 lawmakers present from the ruling Cambodian People's Party. The amendments need approval from the ruling party-controlled Senate, a simple formality.