The National Election Committee has approved and registered 23 political parties for participation in the July 27 elections, NEC Secretary-General Tep Nitha said Sunday.
The 23 are the Cambodian Development Party, the Cambodian Free Independent Party, the CPP, the Cambodian Women’s Party, the Entaraborey Party, the Free Democratic Party, Funcinpec, the Hang Dara Democratic Movement Party, the Khmer Angkor Party, the Khmer Citizens’ Party, the Khmer Democratic Party, the Khmer Farmers’ Party, the Khmer Front Party, the Khmer Help Khmer Party, the Khmer Nationalist Party, the Khmer Soul Party, the Khmer Unity Party, the Kon Khmer Party, the Molinaka Party, the National Solidarity Party, the Prince Norodom Chakrapong Khmer Spirit Party, the Rice Party and the Sam Rainsy Party.
Tep Nitha said the NEC is still reviewing applications from the Khmer Chamroeun Niyun Party and the National Construction Party. Meanwhile, the station manager for TVK has said he will allow free air time for parties that want to broadcast their positions and solicit votes. Mau Ayut said the time allotments would come to one five-minute spot per party to be aired twice daily—from 10 am to 12 pm and from 5 pm to 7 pm—beginning June 26.
The NEC will also regulate news coverage of campaign activities by private and state radio and television stations to try to prevent biased reporting, NEC Deputy Secretary-General Tuot Lux said Sunday.
He also said the majority of news coverage would go to the CPP, and then Funcinpec, as their coalition runs government.
Provincial election committees have also launched recruitment of commune election committee officials. Tep Nitha said PECs will try to have five election officials in each commune, preferably locals with prior experiences in the election process.
People from all parties are welcome to apply for commune election committee slots, but commune councilors, district governors, court officials, police and military police officers and soldiers are ineligible, Tep Nitha said.
Neutral and Impartial Committee for Free and Fair Elections Executive Director Hang Puthea expressed worry over the CEC’s composition, saying it will likely be opaque and favor the ruling party.
“I am very concerned that the NEC will recruit their partisans and candidates for the Cambodian People’s Party,” he said. “If the PEC recruits the previous CEC members, the electoral environment will be worse off.”