Updated: NEC Removes More Opposition Party Candidates

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Beehive Social Democratic Party members in Kandal province. (Mam Sonando’s Facebook page)
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The National Election Committee on Monday and Tuesday ordered the removal of more commune election candidates from the Candlelight Party, radio broadcaster Mam Sonando’s Beehive Party and the Khmer Will Party.

The election body has been ruling on complaints against candidates running in the June election, and has removed dozens of candidates for allegedly not being able to read and write Khmer and irregularities with their documents. In one case, the NEC removed all 18 Candlelight Party candidates from Phnom Penh’s Toul Svay Prey commune.

The Candlelight Party lost another 11 candidates, 10 from just one commune in Pursat province. Kong Leng was removed from the Candlelight Party list in Phnom Penh’s after Chhun Sovannary, the plaintiff, alleged she could not read and write Khmer, which is an election law requirement.

Ket Khy, who was representing the party, agreed Leng’s removal from the list but asked the NEC to retain the rest of the list so that the party could contest in the commune.

In a case relating to Pursat’s Kandieng commune, the provincial election committee removed 10 Candlelight Party candidates which were upheld by the NEC on Monday, despite the objections of lawyer Sam Sokong, who was also representing the party.

The NEC also removed 10 people from the Beehive Social Democratic Party list for Phnom Penh’s Veal Vong after a complaint from Phen Ry, who alleged that the candidates did not fill the necessary paperwork themselves.

On Tuesday, the NEC further heard complaints from Kampong Cham city’s Veal Vong and Sambuor Meas communes and Phnom Penh’s Phsar Thmey III commune.

For Phsar Thmey III, the NEC ruled to disqualify all of the Khmer Will Party’s candidates, while also removing three from the Candlelight Party — No. 6-ranked candidate Nouch Saron, No. 7 Nouch Dara and No. 18 Hen Sreyleak.

For Kampong Cham, the committee ruled that all Candlelight Parties candidates in Veal Vong and Sambuor Meas would be allowed to stay on the list.

Hang Puthea, a spokesperson for the NEC, said all parties must follow the procedure to avoid challenges while registering their candidates.

“We have found some mistakes during registration of political party candidates this time. We saw many interesting points where political parties did not clearly study the rules and procedures to register candidates for their political parties,” Puthea said.

Sam Kuntheamy, executive director for election monitor Nicfec, said parties need to clearly understand the procedures to avoid any complaints against their candidates.

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