The National Assembly of Cambodia amended on Friday their election laws to impose criminal liability on citizens who disrupt the election in July. Deputy Prime Minister of Cambodia Samdech Krolahom Sar Kheng stated that the amendment stipulates individuals must vote in order to be eligible to run for office. The amendment also imposes criminal liability on individuals who disrupt and obstruct the voter registration process, as well as disrupt or obstruct the election. The National Assembly passed the amendment without opposition.
In March 2023, the Cambodian government imposed a new procedural requirement on political parties which plan to run for the election for the National Assembly. The government required political parties to obtain a certificate of registration of political party at the Ministry of Interior. After being accused of changing procedures to bar opposition parties from participating in the election, the National Election Committee (“NEC”) stated that they had acted in accordance with the law. However, the Law on the Election of Members of the National Assembly had not provided for such a registration requirement.
On May 15, the NEC rejected the registration of Candlelight Party on the ground that the Party had not adhered to the registration procedures by failing “to attach with the Prakas on the Registration of Political Parties at the Ministry of Interior”. The Candlelight Party are a liberal party who are the main opposition to the Cambodian People’s Party. Subsequently, the Candlelight Party appealed this decision to the Constitutional Council, however, the Council ruled against the Candlelight Party on May 25.
The current National Assembly of Cambodia was formed in 2018 and the Cambodian People’s Party won all of the seats in the last election.