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Opposition Prepares to Nominate 23,000 Candidates for Local Elections


Voters wait in line to vote in the 2013 commune election, Phnom Penh, Cambodia.

Kem Sokha said that if any disputes over the selection process arose the final decision would be put to a vote.

The opposition Cambodia National Rescue Party is preparing to field more than 23,000 candidates in the forthcoming commune elections, the party’s deputy leader has said.

Speaking to supporters in France on Saturday via video link, Kem Sokha said the CNRP’s district and grassroots committees would select the candidates to field in more than 1,600 constituencies ahead of the polls opening on June 4.

He said that if any disputes over the selection process arose the final decision would be put to a vote.

Sokha added that the party would be reviewing its policy platform ahead of the election.

“We have to finish the political message by the end of January so that the candidates can read and understand it in advance,” he said.

The party has previously run on a platform of raising wages, providing more support to the elderly and stabilizing crop prices.

Political parties have until March 3 to nominate candidates.

The CNRP, Sokha said, will also field some 45,000 election monitors at polling stations.

Meas Ny, a social researcher, said the opposition’s sluggishness at selecting candidates had given the ruling party an advantage.

“It looks like they are a step behind in preparing their personnel,” he said.

In 2012, the last time a commune election was held, the CPP won a landslide victory, securing more than 8,000 council seats and more than 1,500 commune chief positions, compared with just 40 won by the CNRP.

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