Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - NEC closes party registration

NEC closes party registration

Content image - Phnom Penh Post
Khmer Rise Party leader Sok Sovan Vathana (left) submits election registration paperwork on Monday.

NEC closes party registration

The National Election Committee closed the registration period for political parties on Monday, saying that 20 entities had filed their documents to take part in the July national elections, and that multiparty democracy was “growing well” despite arguments to the contrary by civil society and members of the now-dissolved opposition CNRP.

The NEC accepted most of the applicant parties on Monday. Despite the process starting on April 30, only four parties, the ruling CPP, the Cambodian Youth Party, the Cambodian National Party and the Khmer United Party were granted ballot access by Sunday.

Lenience was given to officials from the Khmer Rise Party, who showed up five minutes past the 5:30pm deadline but were nevertheless allowed to submit their paperwork.

Dim Sovannarom, spokesman for the NEC, said in a press conference after registration closed they will have seven days to review all the submitted documents. He noted that the participation of many political parties was a reflection of the development of democracy, comparing it favourably to the 2013 poll, when only eight parties made it to the ballot.

While some former CNRP officials have called for a boycott, Sovannarom said there is no law in the Kingdom requiring a certain turnout rate so the election will be valid regardless.

Former CNRP lawmaker Ou Chanrath believes the registration was part of a ruling party strategy. “It makes some frustrated or feel hopeless or excited with the big opportunity. That’s why they got many parties to participate, including ‘purchased’ ones. It can serve as false pride for the NEC after the election.”

‘Legitimacy questions unavoidable’

But CPP spokesman Sok Eysan denied his party assisted or funded the processing for any party but his own, stating: “The CNRP accusation is just jealousy; they cannot participate in the election.”

He also expressed congratulations to all the parties who completed registration. “It reflects our multiparty liberal democracy,” he said.

Preap Kol, head of Transparency International in Cambodia, said via email the pre-election period has drawn unfavourable global attention and is being viewed “negatively” by a majority of well-respected democratic countries.

“Without the participation of a credible opposition, the election will unavoidably suffer questions of legitimacy,” he said. “Certainly, if [a voter’s] favourite leaders are among those who cannot participate, they do not have a choice.”

While Transparency International Cambodia has sent observers to monitor past elections, yesterday Kol said there were many factors that make it hard to foresee TI Cambodia doing so in July’s poll. “But we will make a decision officially at our board meeting later this month,” he added.

Sam Rainsy on Monday expressed his belief that many of the registered parties were nothing but puppets for the CPP.

“The number participating, whether 20 or 200, is meaningless. What matters is their character and quality.”

He called 19 of the entities “firefly parties” because their presence would be fleeting, and that “their only role is to help Hun Sen’s CPP in its desperate attempt to secure legitimacy”.

MOST VIEWED

  • Construction begins on $1.5B Kampot seaport

    The International Multi-Purpose Logistics and Port Centre, principally invested by Kampot Logistics and Port Co Ltd and projected to cost $1.5 billion, has officially broken ground in Bokor town, Kampot province. The multi-purpose logistics and port centre, located in Prek Tnaot commune, will be built on

  • Hun Neng, lawmaker and PM’s brother, passes away aged 72

    Hun Neng, chairman of the 4th Commission of the National Assembly, has passed away from heart disease at the age of 72 on the afternoon of May 5, according to the Ministry of Information. Hun Neng is the older brother of Prime Minister Hun Sen, and was

  • Massive stingrays may live in Mekong’s deep pools

    US scientists have suggested that unexplored deep pools in the Mekong River in an area of Stung Treng could potentially be home to significant populations of giant freshwater stingrays, one of the world’s largest freshwater fish species. This comes as a fisherman hooked a 180

  • CCC team off on US business trip

    The Kingdom’s leading economists and private sector representatives have called on the US to renew its tax preferential status for Cambodian exports, as a Cambodia Chamber of Commerce (CCC) delegation departed for a weeklong business visit to the US, where they will meet with

  • PM takes time to meet, greet Cambodians living in the US

    After landing in the US ahead of the ASEAN-US Special Summit, Prime Minister Hun Sen was received by over 1,000 Cambodian-Americans including political analysts who welcomed him with greetings, fist bumps and selfies. Hun Sen also met with analyst Mak Hoeun, who had allegedly spoken ill

  • Khmer cinema classics back on big screen for free at WB Arena’s outdoor movies series

    On a recent Saturday evening at WB Arena, Bunsong was enjoying a tasty BBQ meal with his family after work on the long tables that had been arranged out in front of the restaurant as they watched a Khmer action movie on a big outdoor