A total of 17 political parties have registered to run in commune-level elections in June, an important bellwether for national polls in July 2023. The three-day registration period, which closed on Monday, saw tens of thousands of candidates register to compete for 11,622 council positions and the leadership of 1,652 communes.
Elections in the communes, the administrative division above village-level, are the most important local polls in Cambodia, as commune councilors periodically elect the members of district, provincial, and municipal councils, as well as most members of the Senate. Voice of Democracy (VOD), a local media outlet, has a good breakdown of the participating parties here.
To be sure, only one party of the 17 has a realistic chance: that is the ruling Cambodian People’s Party (CPP), led by Prime Minister Hun Sen, which has governed the country in various guises since 1979. It is the only party running candidates in every commune, and as VOD noted, “goes into the election with complete control over all but one commune in [the] country.”