The National Election Commit-tee announced preliminary candidate registration figures Thursday for the 12 political parties participating in April’s commune elections.
As of 5 pm Thursday, the ruling CPP was confirmed to be fielding candidates in at least 1,620 of the country’s 1,621 communes, NEC spokesman Khan Keo Mono said. The SRP is fielding candidates in the second highest amount of communes, with at least 1,587. The newly formed Norodom Ranariddh Party was third, with candidates being put forward in at least 1,417 communes, beating rival Funcin-pec by just 10 communes.
Khan Keo Mono cautioned that the numbers were not yet final. But he said they are very close to the closing tallies, which will be made public today.
Rounding out the field were a host of smaller, and in some cases very little known, parties: Prince Sisowath Thomico’s Sangkum Jatiniyum Front Party, the Hang Dara Democratic Movement Party, the Khmer Democratic Party, the League for Democracy Party, the Khmer National Party, the Demo-cratic Society Party, the United People of Cambodia and the Cam-roeun Niyum Khmer Party.
Lu Laysreng, second deputy president of Funcinpec, said he was not surprised that the NRP was able to field so many candidates, but said: “To run more does not necessarily mean that you win more.”
NRP spokesman Muth Chann-tha said his party was pleased to be forwarding candidates in more communes than Funcinpec. “We have more supporters even though our party is around 40 days old,” he said.
SRP leader Sam Rainsy said that he was also proud of his party’s registration performance.
“The is an indication that the Sam Rainsy Party has a network… that covers nearly the whole country,” he said.
Koul Panha, director of the Com-mittee for Free and Fair Elect-ions, said that the NRP’s strong turnout was not entirely surprising because many commune-level Funcinpec officials have defected to the NRP, giving it a near instantaneous political structure.