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Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Four parties approved for council polls

Four parties approved for council polls

THE National Election Committee on Monday officially approved four

political parties to contest the provincial, district and municipal

council elections on May 17, amid renewed opposition criticisms that

the indirect elections are undemocratic.

NEC Secretary General

Tep Nytha said Monday the ruling Cambodian People's Party has listed

candidates in all 24 provinces, with the opposition Sam Rainsy Party,

Norodom Ranariddh Party and Funcinpec listing candidates in 23, seven

and five provinces,respectively.

"[On Monday] we closed

registrations for political parties and their candidates," he said,

adding that there had been "no problems" in the registration process

and that parties will have five days more to lodge complaints about

irregularities in the process.

But SRP President Sam Rainsy said

that the very process itself was flawed, and that May's "indirect"

council elections - in which only the 11,353 existing commune

councillors will be able to vote - would be a parody of democracy.

"I

think that this is the worst kind of election system because it does

not allow local people to have a direct vote," he said Monday.

He

added that the election of the new councils similarly diverged from the

government's policy of decentralising power and that control would

remain concentrated in the hands of the chairmen of the councils -

which he expected to be dominated by ruling party candidates.

"The

CPP does not want people to have a direct vote in every election in

Cambodia because it is still concerned about the democratic movement,"

he added.

Senior CPP lawmaker Cheam Yeap said, however, that the

opposition must work hard to build confidence among the people rather

than resorting to criticisms of  the ruling party.

"The CPP

respects the laws and regulations of the NEC, and we see that the NEC

has done a good job following the electoral law," he said.

"The NEC freely allows media to access all information related to the election."

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