The National Election Committee held a random draw to determine the ballot order for next month’s Senate election, with the ruling Cambodian People’s Party taking the first spot.
NEC Chairman Sik Bun Hok opened the proceedings this morning, declaring that today is a “special day”.
Senators are voted on by members of the National Assembly and local commune councils. The CPP currently dominates both of those bodies following November’s dissolution of the only viable opposition party, the Cambodian National Rescue Party. In fact, unless CPP council members gift votes to other minor parties, it has the numbers to win all 58 elected seats in the upper house. Four more seats are given by appointment.
An extra seat is being added in this mandate to Region 7, which includes Kampong Speu, Kampong Chhnang, Pursat, Koh Kong, and Preah Sihanouk.
Other parties contesting the Senate election are the Khmer National United Party, the Cambodian Youth Party and the royalist Funcinpec party. Both CYP and Funcinpec filed complaints against the CNRP to the Ministry of Interior ahead of its dissolution, prompting some commentators to view them as satellite parties of the CPP.
“On behalf of the NEC and on my own behalf, I strongly believe that the holding of the draw at this moment will be conducted in accordance with the right procedure and in a clear, fair and transparent manner,” Bun Hok said, according to a translated version of his speech posted to the NEC website.
The CPP was selected in the first ballot spot, with CYP taking second, KNUP in third, and Funcinpec rounding out the list. Incidentally, when Bun Hok announced the parties contesting the election before the draw, he listed them in the exact same order.