The National Election Committee (NEC) has instructed all political parties to prepare registration applications for their party and candidates, ahead of next February’s Senate elections.

According to last week’s announcement, the NEC informed all registered parties that are recognised by the Ministry of Interior to prepare form No.1008 and attach the required paperwork, in accordance with point 5.6.3 of the Senate Election Law.

NEC spokesman Som Sorida explained that there are two main principles related to the process –registration and a deposit payment.

“Each political party must prepare a list of at least 19 candidates, equal to one-third of the full number of seats in the Senate. An equal number of reserve candidates must also be nominated,” he said.

“The second step is to deposit 15 million riel ($3,750) at the General Department of the National Treasury. To do so, parties must apply with the NEC, which will write to the treasury and inform them to accept the payment,” he added.

Once the payment has been made, the applicant party will receive a deposit receipt.

Sorida added that parties can withdraw the deposit at the end of the election when they win a certain number of seats, and that the NEC will facilitate the guarantee of documents to withdraw money.

“In the past, in previous mandates, the problem was that some political parties did not understand the forms and procedures. There were a lot of inquiries to the NEC, especially on the registration of names,” he said.

This election is non-universal, with only two constituencies: the National Assembly’s 125 lawmakers and 11,622 commune council members. The registration process lasts for 15 days, from November 27 to December 11.

Sok Eysan, a spokesman for the ruling Cambodian People’s Party (CPP), said that his party is ready for the Senate elections, and has already prepared its list. 

“It has done so in accordance with the principles set out by the NEC, which is the party’s custom for every election,” he added.

“The CPP will win a lot of seats, because most of lawmakers in the National Assembly are CPP members, and the majority of commune council representatives are also members of the ruling party,” he continued.

Rong Chhun, vice-president of the newly-formed National Power Party, said that in the spirit of the party’s recent party, they intended to take part in the Senate ballot process.

“Although we have just formed, we aim to take part in this election. We will nominate candidates who have all been pro-democracy activists in the past. We will be clear when preparing to register in the future,” he added.

He expressed his hopes that the party would gain support and represent a democratic voice in the Senate.

Cambodia Reform Party (CRP) co-founder Ou Chanrath said the CRP would not participate in the elections, but that as part of his party’s alliance with several others – including the Grassroots Democratic Party (GDP), the Khmer Will Party (KWP), and the Candlelight Party (CP) – candidates may be selected.

The election of senators for the 5th term will take place on Sunday, February 25, 2024.