Registrations of political parties and candidates for the election of the 5th legislative Senate closed on December 11. A National Election Committee (NEC) official announced that applications have been received from four parties.

NEC spokesman Som Sorida identified the four as the ruling Cambodian People's Party (CPP), Khmer Will Party (KWP), National Power Party (NPP), and FUNCINPEC. The NEC had already approved the CPP as of December 10, and was deliberating on the other applications.

“We are currently reviewing the documents that were submitted by FUNCINPEC,” he said.

“This election is non-universal, with only two constituencies – the 125 lawmakers of the National Assembly and the 11,622 members of the Kingdom’s Commune Councils. This means that only parties which have contested previous general or commune elections can register,” he added.

Sorida noted that the KWP, which is an ally of the Candlelight Party (CP), won seats in the 2022 commune council elections, but failed to register for this year’s general election. The NPP, which split from the CP, successfully registered for the 2023 general election.

CP spokesman Kim Sour Phirith issued a brief statement on December 10, expressing hopes that its ally KWP would be permitted to contest the upcoming Senate election, claiming that it had met all of the requirements.

Sam Kuntheamy, executive director of the NGO Neutral and Impartial Committee for Free and Fair Elections in Cambodia (NICFEC), could not be reached for comment.

The government has fixed February 25 as the date for the election of senators for the Senate’s fifth term.