The Candlelight Party (CP), which was disqualified from the July 23 national election for non-compliance with the National Election Committee’s (NEC) regulations, has expressed a desire to meet with the Ministry of Interior to sort out the issue that had left their party unable to register.

The CP said it is committed to addressing the matter that prevented the party from entering the political contest. Its registration with the NEC was hindered because they allegedly failed to produce a certified registration letter from the ministry.

Hong Sok Hour, the CP’s chief of cabinet, expressed frustration at a press conference at the party headquarters on August 7.

“Our party met with the interior ministry and NEC seeking to find an administrative solution, but our effort failed. We met once before the election, but the ministry told us to wait until after the election and a new government is born,” he said.

Sok Hour voiced the CP’s expectation that the ministry, which oversees party registration, would address this issue and enable it to participate in future elections.

“We hope that the new government is willing to solve this issue for the CP and enable us to participate in the democratic process. We want to meet the ministry [again] to solve this issue,” Sok Hour said.

CP spokesperson Kimsour Phirith said at the press conference that even if his party had lost the original registration document, a copy was readily available at the interior ministry. He said the ministry should be able to address this issue as it is an administrative matter, noting that the CP’s registration with the ministry is acknowledged.

“We want the ministry to solve this problem. This would pave the way for other parties that could have the same issue in the future,” he said. “This is not only for the sake of the CP but for all other parties.”

Chhim Kan, deputy director-general of Association and Political Party Affairs at the ministry, said that as of August 7, the ministry had not received a meeting request from the CP. He noted that the decision to meet with the CP would be at the discretion of the ministry’s leader.