The National Election Committee (NEC) has received about 160,000 applications – including more than 70,000 from organisations, over 70 from associations, more than 80,000 from 17 political parties, and special guests from three institutions – to observe the June 5 commune council elections.

NEC spokesman Som Sorida told The Post that the deadline for applications passed on May 28, noting that there was more participation by the media, which showed a good level of interest by the public in the 5th mandate commune elections.

Sorida added that the election and vote counting process would be attended by a wide range of stakeholders, including agents of political parties, election observers, journalists and special guests from Japan, Australia and the EU.

“We hope there will be special guests who will observe the elections and the ballot count,” he said, noting that the NEC had issued decision No 179 dated May 23 to allow special guests to apply until June 2.

Special guests are delegates from foreign embassies who participate in observing the election, but do not function as observers.

Embassies and foreign embassies who wish to observe the election in the short term must notify the NEC by attaching a list of special guests and translators, as well as one 4x6 photo of each.

Separately on May 29, some of the 17 political parties contesting the elections launched large campaigns in Phnom Penh to drum up the people’s support.

Em Soksovann, director of the the Cambodian Youth Party’s political affairs department, told The Post on May 29 that the party had launched their campaign with a rally of 2,000 supporters.

Soksovann said the gathering – at the party’s headquarters in Chaom Chao I commune’s Toul Pong village of Phnom Penh’s Por Sen Chey district – was led by party president Pich Sros on May 29 from 2pm until 9pm.

Kampuchea Niyum Party’s information department director Sok Peng Long said on May 29 that the party had also chosen May 29 as the launch day of their campaign, with about 100 participants in Meanchey district’s Boeung Tumpun II commune.

On the same day, the Candlelight Party – the second-largest party contesting the June 5 elections with candidates fielded across the country – rallied in 12 communes in the capital’s Dangkor district, with the participation of its leaders, members at all levels of the party and hundreds of supporters.

In addition to marching and distributing leaflets to people’s homes, Minister of Interior Sar Kheng – CPP vice-president and chair of the party’s Prey Veng and Battambang working groups – on May 29 met with the party leaders and 27 committee members at the party headquarters in the capital’s Chamkarmon district.

Sar Kheng expressed his appreciation of all the leaders and members of the party committee who devoted their time, energy, wisdom and resources to its work.

A May 28 NEC press release announced that the 8th day of campaigning activities was safe, secure, orderly and non-violent, and took place in a non-threatening environment.

The election campaigns runs for 14 days from May 21 to June 3. All propaganda activities must respect all laws, regulations and legal procedures, including the NEC’s instructions.