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Four parties to square off in February Senate vote

Senators ahead of a vote in October. The NEC has said four parties are eligible to contest the February Senate elections. Keo Ratana
Senators ahead of a vote in October. The NEC has said four parties are eligible to contest the February Senate elections. Keo Ratana

Four parties to square off in February Senate vote

The National Election Committee (NEC) said only four political parties had registered to contest the February Senate elections, from which the country’s main opposition, the Cambodia National Rescue Party, will be excluded following its widely condemned dissolution by the Supreme Court in November.

For the election, the Kingdom’s 25 provinces are divided into eight regions, with commune councillors and National Assembly members voting for 58 seats in the Senate. Two seats are nominated by the National Assembly and another two by the King, for a total of 62.

The ruling Cambodian People’s Party and the royalist Funcinpec party will contest all eight regions for the indirect elections, with Khmer National United Party and Cambodian Youth Party (CYP) contesting in seven and three regions, respectively. Both Funcinpec and the CYP had filed complaints seeking the dissolution of the CNRP, which the government accused of seeking to foment “revolution”.

NEC Deputy Secretary-General Som Sorida said five parties had registered to contest the elections, but following the CNRP’s dissolution, “one party did not have sufficient qualifications for registering for the election”.

The CYP will go into the elections with only three commune councillor votes, but party President Pich Sros defended its right to participate.

“We just do what we can based on our ability. We . . . have to take part,” he said.

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