Tuesday, May 14, 2013

8 political parties register to run in Cambodia's July polls

Xinhua | 2013-5-14
By Agencies

Eight political parties have registered to join race in Cambodia's upcoming national elections, the country's National Election Committee (NEC) announced on Monday evening after a 15-day party registration period came to an end.

The eight parties include well-known ruling Cambodian People's Party (CPP) of Prime Minister Hun Sen, main opposition Cambodia National Rescue Party (CNRP) led by self-exiled leader Sam Rainsy, royalist Funcinpec Party headed by Princess Norodom Arun Rasmey, the youngest daughter of late King Father Norodom Sihanouk, said Sour Sophary from the election committee in a press briefing.

The five others are little-known: League for Democracy Party led by a former opposition lawmaker Khem Veasna, Cambodian Nationality Party led by Seng Sokheng, Democratic Republic Party headed by Sokroth Sovan Panhchakseila, Khmer Anti-Poverty Party led by Daran Kravanh, and Khmer Economic Development Party led by Huon Reach Chamroeun, he said.

National Election Committee's Secretary General Tep Nytha said the committee has officially recognized five parties already.

For the CNRP, the committee required the party to add some more information within five days, and the committee is examining the registration applications by the Khmer Anti-Poverty Party and Khmer Economic Development Party.

The number of parties registered to contest in polls has steadily declined in the last decade - from 23 parties in the 2003 elections to 11 parties in the 2008 polls.

Cambodia is scheduled to hold a general election for the 123- seat parliament on July 28, and some 9.67 million Cambodians are eligible to cast their ballots.

Analysts project that the CPP of Prime Minister Hun Sen will definitely win the majority in the upcoming polls.

Hun Sen, 61, has been in power for 28 years and vowed to stay in the office until he is 74.

Hun Sen's main rival Sam Rainsy, leader of the CNRP, is unable to join the upcoming elections because the election committee has deleted his name from the voter registry since November on the grounds that he is a convicted criminal, Ho Vann, deputy chief of the CNRP's disciplinary committee, told Xinhua over telephone.

Sam Rainsy, 63, fled the country in late 2009 before Cambodian court sentenced him to 11 years in prison in absentia for two charges-removing border poles and publishing a false map of the border with Vietnam and accusing Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Hor Namhong of being a member of the Democratic Kampuchea, or known as Khmer Rouge.

Ho Vann said, "However, the CNRP still keeps the name of Sam Rainsy as the candidate of Prime Minister if the party wins the upcoming election."

The CNRP was formed in September last year by the amalgamation of two opposition parties-the Sam Rainsy Party and the Human Rights Party.

Ho Vann said that the CNRP planned to stage the second peaceful protest on Monday next week at the Freedom Park in the capital in order to demand reforms at the National Election Committee.

"The upcoming protest is expected to attend by some 5,000 people," he told Xinhua on Monday. "Our demand remains the same: reforms at the National Election Committee because we believe that the National Election Committee is biased towards the CPP and an audit of the national voter list which is thought to be inaccurate. "

The opposition party held such protest on April 24, but the demand was rejected by the National Election Committee.

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