With parliamentary elections scheduled for July 23, the Candlelight Party (CP), one of the largest opposition parties, has finally applied to register itself and its candidates with the National Election Committee (NEC).

The application came just one day before the deadline for the registration process, which ran from April 28 to May 8.

The Ministry of Interior announced that it had recognised the party and registered it –in line with law on political parties – on May 6. Teav Vannol was listed as president of the party.

Addressing the media on May 7 shortly after submitting the application with the NEC, CP spokesman Kim Sour Phirith said his party would field candidates in the capital and 24 provinces for the coming parliamentary elections. There are 125 first-line candidates and 125 reserves for the lawmaker seats.

He added that NEC had issued a receipt for the registration application, and the CP would now wait to see if the NEC required any further details or adjustments to the application.

“We will abide by any of the NEC’s requests, accordingly,” he said.

“However, if we experience untoward pressure or persecution from now until election day, we will consider whether we will participate or not,” he added.

NEC spokesman Hang Puthea told The Post on May 7 that having received the application of the party, NEC would review its documents. If there any points that needed addressing, the NEC would give the applicants five days to do so. If there are no issues with the application, the NEC will notify the CP that it has recognised and registered the party.

As of May 6, 14 political parties had applied to NEC for registration, eight of which have been formally recognised. Six are still undergoing the examination process.

An NEC press statement announced that that they will convene a meeting with the relevant parties on May 9 to update the present status of the registration of political parties and candidates. The meeting will also touch on the registration of international and national observers, and the rules and procedures for said observers.

While many parties had registered to contest in the election, the Cambodian Reform Party, co-led by Pol Ham and Ou Chanrath, both former lawmakers with the defunct Cambodia National Rescue Party, announced that it will not contest the coming election.

“The situation does not permit us to fully compete in the election,” they claimed, in a recent joint press statement.