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NEC Continues to Reject Candlelight Party Candidature

PHNOM PENH: The National Election Committee (NEC) has again rejected the Candlelight Party’s application to be on the ballot for the 7th National Assembly election in July, saying that the party did not confirm its legitimacy in accordance with election law.

This is the second time that the Candlelight Party has not met the legal criteria to be in the national election, which requires an original copy of the party’s registration certificate be submitted to the Ministry of Interior, which must be certified by the OWSO in addition to capital, provincial, municipal, and district administrations. The Candlelight Party returned the same photocopied documents to the NEC on May 13 after already being rejected.

Senior official of the Candlelight Party, Son Chhay, blamed the Board of Directors of the Candlelight Party for not understanding Cambodian law in regards to registering for the July elections. He said that their failure to meet the criteria set by the NEC for registration was their own fault as they handed in a copy of the party’s registration, rather than a certified original. Furthermore, he said their calls for members to protest the NEC’s decision to decline their registration was, “a serious mistake.”

Speaking to Candlelight Party supporters on May 14, he said, “I regret that they did not use their intellect which only produced a mess,” he said, "We are a big party with a lot of secondary support, and we, the party leaders, are making something out of nothing, which will only disrupt our work."

He considered the party’s call for protests to be contrary to its own policy of prioritizing national interest, saying that its failure to be included in the upcoming election is the party’s own fault.

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