Just 12 of Cambodia’s 57 registered political parties submitted their paperwork to compete in July’s national election ahead of Monday’s deadline, the National Election Committee announced.
Of those 12 parties, only the CPP, the Hang Dara Democratic Movement Party and the Norodom Ranariddh Party have already been approved, NEC officials said.
Only one party, the Khmer United People Party, has been officially denied, the NEC said.
The paperwork of the remaining eight parties—which include the SRP, Funcinpec, the Human Rights Party, the Just Society Party, the Khmer Republican Party, the Khmer Democratic Party, the Anti-Poverty Party and the League for Democracy Party—is still being verified, said NEC member Mao Sophearith, speaking at a Monday evening news conference at NEC headquarters.
Most of the parties complained that letters from commune chiefs authorizing their candidates hadn’t been cross-checked with the voter list from last year’s commune election, which was part of the reason the KUPP was denied.
The KUPP was also denied for not fielding the minimum number of candidates necessary to run a countrywide campaign—which is 123 candidates and 141 reserve candidates, according to the NEC.
Ban Sophal, president of the Justice Society Party, said he would like to see the election law amended.
“It is useless to have commune chiefs certify candidates” who must then be double-checked by the NEC anyway, he said.
Mao Sophearith and NEC Secretary-General Tep Nytha said that party complaints should go before the Constitutional Council.
Tep Nytha also said the NEC has sympathy for all parties, but that paperwork should be done well before deadlines in order to prevent last-minute mistakes from taking a party out of the running.
Several parties complained Monday about not having enough time or money to register.
Phouk Rithy, president of Molinaka, which won one seat in the UN-sponsored election of 1993, said his party would be unable to join because, he said, “I don’t have the means, lack the funds and cannot manage it in time.”
Liv An, president of the Khmer Improvement Party, said that at least 10 of their potential candidates defected to the CPP, HRP and Funcinpec and that he wasn’t able to get replacements in time.
“I stay neutral and will decide which party I vote for after the campaign,” he said, adding that KIP is part of the 12-party coalition with the CPP and Funcinpec—as is Molinaka.