The deadline for political parties to register for July’s national election is today, but as of Sunday only the ruling CPP has officially registered, according to the National Election Committee.
Besides the CPP, only seven of Cambodia’s 57 parties had even handed in their registration forms, which according to NEC Secretary-General Tep Nytha are riddled with mistakes and need to be resubmitted.
“I hope more would come” today, said Tep Nytha.
Parties that have submitted forms to enter the National Assembly race include Funcinpec, the Norodom Ranariddh Party, the Human Rights Party, the Hang Dara Democratic Movement Party, the United People of Cambodia, the League for Democracy Party and the Justice Society Party. But none are officially registered yet.
The NEC is processing the groups’ forms—or, in the case of the Hang Dara Democratic Movement Party and the United People of Cambodia, the NEC is waiting for forms to be resubmitted after mistakes or missing information were rectified, Tep Nytha said. Incorrect names, birth dates, addresses as well as a lack of verification documents have been some of the problems, he added.
The NEC is also still verifying if the United People of Cambodia Party has paid the $3,750 deposit fee, Tep Nytha said.
Notably missing among the contenders so far is the SRP. The party plans to submit forms today, said SRP Secretary-General Eng Chhay Eang on Sunday.
The SRP will have candidates competing for all 123 National Assembly seats throughout Cambodia, he said.
The timing “is not strategy, but SRP would rather prepare the proper documents,” before submission so the NEC will not have to ask for corrections, Eng Chhay Eang said. He also noted that the SRP usually submits its forms on the last day.
Several other parties could submit forms today, speculated Koul Panha, executive director of Committee for Free and Fair Elections. “It could be their strategy,” he said, to first know the candidates of rival parties.
Ultimately though, Koul Panha said he expects fewer than 20 parties to jockey for Assembly seats in the upcoming election because many parties seem hesitant or appear to be having difficulty with candidate document verification.