Thursday, 15.5.2008: Civil Society: Small Number of Parties Participating the Elections Makes Non-Ruling Parties Stronger

Posted on 15 May 2008. Filed under: Week 560 |

The Mirror, Vol. 12, No. 560

“The National Election Committee [NEC] had started the registration for political parties that intend to compete in fourth term parliamentary election since 28 April 2008 until 12 May 2008. Since the start of the registration of political parties on 28 April 2008, until 12 May 2008, the NEC had listed only twelve parties, among which only three parties have been officially recognized by the NEC.

“On the afternoon of 12 May, the NEC held a press conference on the results of the registration of political parties. Mr. Tep Nitha said that the NEC has listed twelve parties as follows:

1. Cambodian People’s Party
2. Khmer People Niyum Party
3. Hang Dara Democratic Movement Party
4. Norodom Ranariddh Party
5. Funcinpec
6. Human Rights Party
7. Sangkum [Khmer] Niyum Party
8. League for Democracy Party
9. Sam Rainsy Party
10. Khmer Anti-Poverty Party
11. Khmer Democratic Party
12. Khmer Republican Party.

“The NEC secretary-general Mr. Tep Nitha said that among the twelve parties which had registered, only three parties have been officially recognized by the NEC – the Cambodian People’s Party, the Hang Dara Democratic Movement Party, and the Norodom Ranariddh Party. As for the other eight parties, their documents have been being checked, but the registration of the Sangkum Khmer Niyum was rejected, because it did not have sufficient documents.

“Mr. Tep Nitha said that the number of parties participating in the competition of the fourth term parliamentary election is smaller compared to the 1993 election, when there were 39 parties, and in the 2003 election when there were 23 parties.

“With only twelve parties listed by the NEC, civil society representatives expressed various views.

“The Committee for Free and Fair Elections [COMFREL] executive director Mr. Koul Panha said that having only twelve parties registered and to be officially recognized by the NEC is not a good sign, as there are not as many parties as before, probably because of the formula for the calculation of candidates’ numbers of positions, as some parties lack the resources and the money to participate in the election.

“Mr. Koul Panha continued that because of such problems, some parties do not participate. Other problems are that some parties do not have their presidents present in the country, and the main reason is that some parties do not have the hope to win any seat, because of the seat calculation formula, according to which the parties do not believe they can guarantee seats like in the 1993 election, which had a formula to encourage smaller parties; if they had some results, they could get the rest of the seats, but now the formula is different – the winners will get many seats.

“The director of the Cambodian League for the Promotion and Defense of Human Rights [LICADHO] Ms. Pong Chiv Kek [known also as Dr. Kek Galabru] finds that it is a negative sign, though previously when there were many parties registered at the NEC, it was difficult for the citizens to decide for which party they should vote; first of all, citizens lacked information about those political parties, so when there were too many parties, it was difficult for them to decide, and the second reason is that to have a strong opposition, votes must be concentrated, since when there are many parties for citizens to vote, votes are split, and a formula is used to allocate seats which does not help small parties, but it helps only the bigger parties. So, this formula is different from that in the 1993 election, created by the United Nations, which helped small parties. By 1998, the formula was changed in order to allocate seats which did not help the smaller parties.

“Ms. Pong Chiv Kek added that if there are many parties, votes are split, making opposition parties which do not hold power weaker and also weakening democracy, as we also need strong non-ruling parties to challenge the government. If the government does well, they support it, but if the government has problems and goes a wrong way, non-ruling parties will pull the government back and take care so that it works for equality.” Khmer Sthapana, Vol.1, #19, 14-16.5.2008

Newspapers Appearing on the Newsstand:
Thursday, 15 May 2008

Chuoy Khmer, Vol.2, #100, 15.5.2008

  • Battambang Electricité du Cambodge Chief Lim Bunthon Extorts between US$150-US$200 from Citizens of Each House [so electricity is available to their houses]
  • Gunfight between Robbers and Police at Midnight: Four Police Wounded, One Robber Killed, Frightening the People [on 14 May – Tuol Kork, Phnom Penh]

Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.7, #1641, 15.5.2008

  • Forrest Crimes in Kulen Prum Tep Animal Refuge Still Seriously Exist [Preah Vihear]

Khmer Sthapana, Vol.1, #19, 14-16.5.2008

  • Civil Society: Small Number of Parties Participating in the Election Makes Non-Ruling Parties Stronger
  • Food Inflation in Cambodia Seriously Affects the Living Condition of Poor Students [by forcing them to drop out of school in order to help seek income for their families]
  • Teachers Criticize Quality of Education [Cambodian Independent Teachers’ Association president Mr. Rong Chhun said that comparing the quality of education in Cambodia to other countries based on previous research, the quality of education in Cambodia is declining very shamefully, because of incompetent leaders, promotion of education is not effective, citizens’ children do not get sufficient education]
  • In First Three Months [of 2008], Number of Tourists Visiting Cambodia Is More than 600,000

Koh Santepheap, Vol.41, #6345, 15.5.2008

  • Retirement Frame of Teachers Is at the Age of 60 and at the Age of 55 for Public Officials
  • Khmer Literature and Language Survive on the Province of Surin [Thailand] after Being Forbidden for 50 Years

Moneaksekar Khmer, Vol.15, #3460, 15.5.2008

  • Official Arrested Chief Drug Trafficker Chen Yon, Owner of Sok San Hotel, Stung Treng [on 13 May]

Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.16, #4589, 15.5.2008

  • Government Signed Development Cooperation Agreement with Sweden [that Sweden plans to provide credit of Swedish Kroner 400 million [approximately US$70 million] to continue projects on three important priority fields – primary education, good governance, and the strengthening of democracy and human rights]
  • UN Pushes All Nations Worldwide to Plant 7,000 Million Trees by Next Year

Samaki Cheat, Vol.10, #112, 15.5.2008

  • England Provides Aid of US$15 Million to Cambodia [for three years – 2008-2010 to participate in poverty reduction and economic growth for Cambodian people]

Samleng Yuvachun Khmer, Vol.15, #3309, 15.5.2008

  • [Cambodian Independent Teachers’ Association president] Mr. Rong Chhun Confirms His Stance of Staying on Democratic Side and He Will Not Join the Ruling Party or Sam Rainsy Party

Have a look at last week’s editorial: How to enhance the trust in the rule of law

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