With the main opposition CNRP banned and one of its former leaders, Kem Sokha, facing trial on treason charges in January, observers say next year’s commune elections will likely be dominated by Prime Minister Hun Sen’s long-ruling CPP.
Former president of the outlawed opposition Cambodia National Rescue Party (CNRP) Kem Sokha has put distance between himself and exiled political figure Sam Rainsy, saying the two men “are not the same person”. Sokha pointed to the return of Rainsy’s former Candlelight Party as a sign of the political split between the two opposition leaders.
Ou Chanrath, the founder of the newly formed Cambodia Reform Party (CRP) and a former Cambodia National Rescue Party (CNRP) lawmaker, said that party officials had been repeatedly questioned by authorities while collecting fingerprints to submit to the Ministry of Interior so that the party can compete in the upcoming commune elections.
The new chairman of the National Election Committee (NEC) pledged his commitment to ensuring that Cambodia’s upcoming commune and national elections are free and fair amid doubts from civil society groups about the former CPP lawmaker’s independence.
The National Assembly on Thursday voted to appoint former provincial governor Prach Chan as the new chairman of the National Election Committee (NEC) to replace Sik Bun Hok, who resigned on June 3 due to health issues.