The number of communes and seats available for commune council members to be elected for the fifth mandate elections in 2022 has increased over the fourth mandate elections held in 2017.

In a notice on September 14, the National Election Committee (NEC) said there will be 1,652 communes and 11,622 commune council seats for the elections scheduled for June 5, 2022.

NEC deputy secretary-general and spokesman Som Sorida told The Post on September 14 that for the elections next year, there will be an increase of six communes along with an additional 50 commune council seats.

Sorida said the reason for the increases was the government’s creation of new communes to reflect the geographical, economic and demographic realities of an ever-evolving Cambodia.

“The increase in the number of communes will lead to changes in the number of commune council members naturally. However, some of the communes already in existence also had their number of council seats increased due to population growth and other factors,” he said.

Sorida said NEC did not anticipate any added difficulties in organising the 2022 elections despite the increase.

Korn Savang, survey and advocacy coordinator at the Committee for Free and Fair Elections in Cambodia (Comfrel), said despite the increase there would not be any trouble in managing the elections though it would increase the amount of money the government must spend on salaries for council members as well as providing them with administrative offices and covering other expenses.

“The increase in communes and commune councils is nothing new. But it just creates new commune administrations. They will need to hire staff members as well as arrange to provide other commune services,” he said.