Chhim Phal Varun, head of the Supreme Consultation Council secretariat, said 30 out of more than 40 political parties have sought membership on the body following a royal decree that became effective on August 26.

The deadline for submission of applications to the council – established by former Prime Minister Hun Sen following the 2018 general election to promote a culture of dialogue among political parties – is September 12.

Phal Varun said on September 10 that upon receiving applications from the 30 parties, his office found no discrepancies in their certification documents. If no further applications are received, these documents will be submitted to Prime Minister Hun Manet for review and approval.

Following this, the secretariat will prepare formal letters of appointment.

“We have verified that these 30 parties have fulfilled all requirements. We initially confirmed the completeness of the documents, and upon further examination, if everything remains correct, we will compile a list for submission to the Prime Minister,” he said.

Kim Souphirith, a spokesperson for the Candlelight Party (CP) which was disqualified from the 2023 national election, said on September 10 that his party maintains its stance of refusal to participate and will not apply for membership on the council. He said the CP perceives joining the institution as ineffective, but that the party will continue to participate in elections.

Pothitey Savathey, head of the Dharmacracy Party, said the party has applied for membership. They view participation as contributing to the country’s reform efforts and assisting the government in addressing any inactivity among sub-national and national officials.

“In the previous term, we made significant efforts, but social issues persist. In this term, as members of the council, we will continue to work on reform and identify unresolved issues. We will then compile a report for the premier’s consideration and approval,” she explained.

A royal decree concerning the organisation and functioning of the council allows political parties without seats in the National Assembly to voluntarily participate, subject to conditions outlined in the edict.

The decree, signed by King Norodom Sihamoni on August 26 and made public on August 30, comprises seven chapters and 21 articles.

It stipulates that political parties who took part in the July 23 election have the privilege of being founding members of the council for the 7th-mandate government.

This is contingent upon the political party officially submitting its application within two weeks of the decree’s enactment and receiving approval from the Prime Minister for their appointment as the first component of the council.