PHNOM PENH: The ruling Cambodian People's Party (CPP) has won the majority of seats from the Commune/Sangkat Council election held on Sunday, 5 June, according to the official results released by the National Election Committee (NEC) on Friday, 24 June.
According to the NEC, the CPP controls the largest number of Commune/Sangkat seats, with more than 9,000, followed by the Candlelight Party, with more than 2,000.
Of the 17 parties that took part in the 5th Commune/Sangkat Council election, only nine were able to win seats, of which the CPP won 9,376, the Candlelight Party won 2,198, FUNCINPEC won 19, Khmer National United Party won 13, Grassroots Democrat Party won 6, Cambodian Nation Love Party won 5, Cambodian Youth Party won 3, and the Kampucheaniyum Party and Beehive Social Democratic Party won 1 seat each.
Communes/Sangkats are part of Cambodia’s sub-national administration, but these elections are still seen as very important for the upcoming National Assembly elections in 2023.
A senior party official of the Candlelight Party, Son Chhay, announced on 6 June that the party would accept the council seats which it has won, despite overall dissatisfaction with the results and the view that the election was not free or fair.
The Candlelight Party originated from the former party of Sam Rainsy, a longtime opposition leader and former CNRP president, currently living in exile in France but still retaining support, winning 2,198 seats after returning to politics. In 2012, the Sam Rainsy Party merged with Kem Sokha's Human Rights Party to form the CNRP.
Speaking after a meeting with the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights in Cambodia (OHCHR), the President of the Cambodian Human Rights Committee, Keo Remy, said that the results of the 5th Mandate Commune/Sangkat Council election are logical, based on the distribution of support between the CPP, who received more than 5 million votes, and the Candlelight Party, who received around 1.6 million votes.
He explained, "If we compare [the results to] the votes placed in 2017, the CPP received 3.5 million votes, the CNRP, along with the Human Rights Party and Candlelight Party got 3 million. When the Candlelight Party lost a partner and did not have the Human Rights Party join because Kem Sokha did not participate in the election, the party lost about half of its support. This is logically reflected in the number of votes that the Candlelight Party received, 1.6 million, and which is equal to half [the votes the CNRP got before]. We have increased the size of the population and amount of support received by the CPP, the swing vote has increased by more than 5 million votes."
Former CNRP President, Kem Sokha, did not place his vote in the 5th Commune/Sangkat Council Election 2022. Prince Norodom Chakravuth, President of the royalist party FUNCINPEC, also did not go to the polls as he did not register to vote.
Prime Minister Hun Sen is known around the world as one of the longest serving leaders currently still in power, leading the Royal Government of Cambodia and the CPP.
The 5th Commune/Sangkat Council Election was held on 5 June with 17 parties competing for 11,622 Commune/Sangkat seats nationwide from 1,652 Communes. The official results released by the NEC show that more than 7.3 million people went to vote for the election, equivalent to more than 83% of the 9.2 million registered voters.