Only 12 parties have registered for parliamentary elections
in July, half the number that took part in the last vote, officials said on May
"For this year, only 12 political parties have
registered," said Tep Nytha, secretary-general of the National Election
The parties include Hun Sen's ruling Cambodian People's
Party (CPP), the royalist Funcinpec, Prince Norodom Ranariddh's new eponymous
party and the main opposition Sam Rainsy Party, historically the political
The Khmer Republican Party, run by the son of former
Cambodian leader Lon Nol, a military general who toppled the country's
government in 1970, also registered, the NEC said.
has 57 political parties and 23 contested the 2003 elections.
Tep Nytha said the smaller line-up was due to
"unpreparedness and budget problems."
With the CPP so strong, small political parties don't hold
out much hope of success. They have also been overshadowed by new parties led
by prominent figures including the Human Rights Party led by Hun Sen opponent Kem
Some 8,124,391 people registered to vote before the February
Hun Sen – the longest-serving elected premier in Southeast Asia with 23 years in power – and his CPP are
considered certain winners.
The last general elections in July 2003 saw the Kingdom
plunged into a year of political stalemate as parties wrangled over forming a
coalition. A government was finally formed in July 2004.
Hun Sen, 55, has repeatedly said he will stay on as prime
minister if the CPP wins.