Cambodia’s National Election Committee (NEC) announced Tuesday that the ongoing campaigns for the May 26 elections of city and provincial councillor positions were proceeding orderly and without irregularities.
The elections are mostly a formality as, according to Cambodian election law, the 4,114 seats for city, provincial, and district councilors in 25 cities and provinces are not chosen by the public, but by the 11,572 commune councilors — all but one of which belong to the ruling Cambodian People’s Party (CPP) .
Commune councillors are directly elected by the public, but in late 2017 the government banned the opposition Cambodian National Rescue Party (Party). The CPP divided the CNRP-held 45 percent of parliament seats among smaller opposition parties, while it took over the CRNP’s 489 commune chief positions by law or by defections.
Only the small Khmer National United Party retained its commune councilor in Thmar Puok Commune, Banteay Meanchey Province.
Despite having virtually no opposition, the CPP has been campaigning for the councillors’ elections, according to the NEC.
It also insisted that the Khmer National United Party and four other tiny parties - the Khmer Will Party, the royalist party Funcinpec, the Khmer National Party and the Cambodian Youth Party - were “campaigning”.
It is not clear how the small parties without any commune councillor to vote could have their members elected to city, district and provincial councillor positions.
NEC spokesman Hang Puthea told VOA Khmer, nonetheless, that: “The campaigns faced no irregularities or clashes between the political parties or candidates.”
He added that the CPP had campaigned in 17 provinces, while the small parties campaigned on a small scale in Phnom Penh and some provinces.