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Small parties pushed to finish registration

Grassroots Democracy Party (GDP) supporters gather for a party meeting in Phnom Penh last year.
Grassroots Democracy Party (GDP) supporters gather for a party meeting in Phnom Penh last year. Pha Lina

Small parties pushed to finish registration

The Ministry of Interior has called on all political parties to finalise their registration if they expect to participate in the upcoming commune and national elections.

In a statement issued on Friday, which did not name the unregistered parties, the ministry said that of the 67 political parties in Cambodia, 23 had yet to register and were conducting their political activities in contravention of the law.

“The Ministry of Interior would like to request representatives of all political parties that have been established, but not registered and want to hold activities or put party signage in Phnom Penh and at provincial branches, to have a written permission letter from the MoI in advance,” the statement said.

Chhim Kan, head of the NGO and political party registration department at the ministry, refused to reveal why these parties were yet to register, and would only say that some of them were conducting illegal activities.

“The ministry reminded them because the elections are approaching and they are still not registered. But they hold activities, which is against the law,” he said.

Ministry spokesman Khieu Sopheak said one of the reasons some parties had failed to register was they did not have the minimum number of supporters required by law.

Following establishment, political parties are expected to meet 11 criteria in order to obtain registration, including a permanent address, a committee with at least seven members, a party logo and acronym and at least 4,000 registered supporters.

The statement came days after the Cambodian People’s Party said there was a need to “encourage other parties to participate in the election” in light of the CNRP’s flagging fortunes.

But party spokesman Sok Eysan yesterday said the push to encourage other political parties had nothing to do with the legitimacy of the next elections or the CNRP’s troubles.

“We are not worried about anything. If they want to participate, they can,” he said. “The CPP is brave enough to compete with them according to democratic principles and pluralism.”

The recently founded Grassroots Democratic Party and Prince Sisovath Chakreynupol’s Cambodia Liberty Party, said they had yet to register and were having difficulty enrolling 4,000 supporters.

“The ministry’s announcement is just to make themselves sound good. When our party goes to the provinces to collect thumbprints from supporters, the local authorities stop us,” said Chakreynupol.

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