The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation has reaffirmed that Cambodia’s commitment to a multiparty democracy remains steadfast, with the parliamentary election slated for July 23.
In a May 26 statement, it said there had been a wide range of discourse on Cambodia’s political environment in the run-up to the election, and that clarification is needed to rectify some narratives that were "misleading, unfounded or politically biased".
The ministry said claims that the Candlelight Party (CP) had been precluded from participating in the election were incorrect.
“The fact is that the party itself did not scrupulously observe the electoral law despite repeated notifications and instructions from the relevant authorities. Such failure to comply with the registration process is the responsibility of the party as an applicant,” it said.
It added that the National Election Committee (NEC) is responsible for enforcing the electoral process with one single standard based on the principles of fairness, equality and due process, as is any electoral governing body in any other country that respects the rule of law.
It noted that if 18 other political parties could comply with the election registration process, fairness would dictate that non-compliant political parties should not be given special privileges, as this would suggest a double standard.
“The Khmer National Unity Party also failed to meet its documentation obligations, but willingly accepted the decision of the authorities,” it said.
The ministry reiterated that Cambodia's commitment to a multiparty democracy remains steadfast.
“Only when all political parties exercise their rights within the boundary of the law can a conducive electoral environment be guaranteed,” it said.
“Not all rights are absolute and a crime cannot be justified as a moral crusade for democracy and human rights. The absence of two political parties from the electoral process due to their non-compliance does not negate the liberal, pluralistic and democratic nature of the Kingdom,” it added.
It also made it clear that Cambodia welcomes all interested stakeholders to witness the election process.
“As a sovereign state, the votes of the Cambodian people must be respected and this open invitation is a demonstration of Cambodia's goodwill and openness to the outside world,” it stated.