More 17,000 candidates for provincial and district councils have registered for upcoming elections in May, the National Election Committee announced Monday.
The candidates will come from the ruling Cambodian People’s Party, Funcinpec, the Norodom Ranariddh Party and the opposition Sam Rainsy Party, which all have commune council members spread nationwide.
Full candidates totaled 8,521, with reserve candidates making up the rest, NEC Secretary-General Tep Nitha said in a statement. More than 2,500 candidates were women, he said.
On May 17, commune council members will vote for 2,861 district council members and 374 provincial or municipal council members.
“This election is very important for Cambodia to move on decentralization, which will provide power to local authorities and the people to make decisions in local development,” Tep Nitha said.
The CPP has registered its candidates in all districts, provinces and municipalities, or around 217 centers, Funcinpec at 71 centers, NRP at 64 centers and SRP at 205 centers.
“We have prepared a stronger strategy for joining the first [council] election in May,” SRP spokesman Yim Sovann said Monday. “We have also prepared a careful strategy to counter the CPP tactics of buying and threatening voters and candidates.”
The opposition party had strengthened its stance at local points “to find the way to protect its members from the ruling party members, to buy and threaten Sam Rainsy Party voters and candidates,” he said. “I hope that our value cannot be sold. We can earn, but our value and honor, for which we have struggled for nearly two decades, cannot be sold.”
Puthea Hang, executive director of the Neutral and Impartial Committee for Elections in Cambodia, said his group was “carefully watching the election process.”