Cambodian opposition parties delay registering for election due to intimidation

Candlelight Party is having a hard time finding candidates because they fear being assaulted.
By RFA Khmer
Cambodian opposition parties delay registering for election due to intimidation Supporters of the Candlelight Party shout slogans from a vehicle ahead of the commune elections in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, June 3, 2022.

Several opposition Cambodian political parties have not registered to participate in July’s general election and will wait until the last minute to take action because intimidation, threats and attacks have made it dangerous to do so, domestic civil society groups said.

Seven parties, including Prime Minister Hun Sen’s Cambodian People’s Party, or CCP, already have registered and submitted their candidate lists for the July 23 election to elect members to the National Assembly, which is currently dominated by the CCP.

Political parties can submit candidate lists to the National Election Committee from April 24 to May 8. 

The main opposition Candlelight Party is having difficulty recruiting candidates because of intimidation and physical assaults against its activists. Some supporters are afraid of publicly campaigning for candidates. 

"Activists, especially those in Phnom Penh, were physically attacked,” said Candlelight Party spokesman Kim Sour Phirith. “They are being threatened emotionally. It is not good for our country that one party is discriminating against its opponent.”

He said the party is reviewing candidates and will try to register them with the NEC before the May 8 deadline.

Other parties also are experiencing difficulties recruiting and registering candidates due to political discrimination, said Sam Kuntheamy, executive director of the Neutral and Impartial Committee for free and fair Elections in Cambodia, an organization that monitors elections.

Attacks on activists have tarnished Cambodia’s election environment, he said.

“I don’t want to see any violence against political activists because at this stage, the parties are preparing to participate in the election,” said Sam Kuntheamy. “Political violence should be avoided.”

Recent attacks

Over the weekend, four assailants on motorbikes assaulted a Candlelight Party activist as he was traveling to the capital of Phnom Penh, striking him several times with a metal baton. Another party activist said her car was intentionally rammed by an unknown assailant. Six other opposition party members have reported attacks in the past months. 

Hang Puthea, spokesman for the NEC, which oversees voting in the country, told Radio Free Asia that the body is reviewing the applications submitted by the seven political parties and will notify them of their status after May 8. 

The NEC has created an app for all parties to register their candidates to avoid duplication and to prevent fraud, he said. 

So far, more than 40 political parties have been officially recognized by the country’s Ministry of Interior, which regulates the formation of parties. 

Translated by Samean Yun for RFA Khmer. Edited by Roseanne Gerin and Malcolm Foster.


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Dega people in the Central Highlands in Vietnam
Apr 26, 2023 09:49 PM

the Cambodian Genocide, people were herded to the killing fields to exterminated due to political conflict between the two communist parties, Vietnam and Kampuchea Khmer Rouge Pol Pot regime. It is limitted case of genocide not a pradigm of genocide.
A perfect victim of genocide and neatly fits with the UN Genocide Convention is the Dega people genocide in the Central Highlands of Vietnam that need to verify by the RFA.