The National Election Committee (NEC) on Saturday released the ruling CPP’s candidate list for the upcoming national elections, revealing the candidacy of several new officials looking to become lawmakers as well as confirming the party’s selection of relatives of high-ranking CPP officials for positions in the National Assembly.
NEC Secretary-General Tep Nytha said Sunday that the CPP’s official candidate list was accepted on Thursday, and that other registered parties would soon have their candidate lists posted to the NEC’s website.
Out of the 123 CPP candidates picked for the country’s 24 provinces, the youngest is Sok Sokhan, 30, the son of Deputy Prime Minister Sok An, who is standing for a seat in Takeo province.
The list also included a number of other prominent government officials vying for a seat in the National Assembly.
General Kun Kim, deputy Royal Cambodian Forces commander-in-chief, is standing in Oddar Meanchey province; Keo Ratanak, director of state-owned Electricite du Cambodia, will be standing for election in Pursat province; and Sous Yara, undersecretary of state at the Council of Ministers, is going for a seat in Preah Vihear province.
According to the list, Women’s Affairs Minister Ing Kantha Phavi will be running as a CPP candidate in Phnom Penh, and Justice Minister Ang Vong Vathana will be standing as a reserve candidate in Battambang province.
Phay Siphan, spokesman for the Council of Ministers, said that ministers or senior ministerial officials elected to the National Assembly must sit out on votes pertaining to their ministries or departments due to a “conflict of interest.”
However, Hang Puthea, director of the Neutral and Impartial Committee for Free Elections in Cambodia, said that officials with a position inside a ministry should not be put up as a lawmaker candidate in order to keep Parliament free of outside influence. “It’s better to provide checks and balances, because the National Assembly is a ‘brand’ of control and they decide on the laws, but the government officers are people who implement the law,” Mr. Puthea said. “So these two brands should be separate.”
The CPP’s candidate list also showed that Ngor Sovann, who defected from the SRP to the CPP in 2008, was running for a CPP seat in Kandal province.
Yim Sovann, spokesman for the opposition Cambodia National Rescue Party, said Sunday that the party had still not registered for the elections because of irregularities that have been uncovered by election monitors in the national voter list. “So far, we are not paying attention to registration. We are pushing for reform in the NEC,” he said.
As has already been announced by the government, the list confirmed that Hun Many, the 31-year-old son of Prime Minister Hun Sen, is running for a seat in Kompong Speu province, while Sar Sokha, 32, Interior Minister Sar Kheng’s son, will be standing for election in Prey Veng province.
Other CPP candidates include Say Sam Al, the 33-year-old son of CPP Senate First Deputy President Say Chhum; and Dith Tyna, 33, the son of CPP Supreme Court President Dith Munthy.
The son of the CPP’s late National Police Chief Hok Lundy and husband of Mr. Hun Sen’s daughter Hun Mana, Dy Vichea, 32, will also stand as a reserve candidate in Svay Rieng province.
Mr. Siphan said it was normal practice for politics to be kept in the family as the job takes up such a large part of an individual’s life. “Son, daughter, husband, wife—once you are involved with a politician, you must be involved with politics.”