Candle Light Party Welcome

The Candle Light Party, originally known as the Khmer Nation Party, was formed on November 2 and the party was officially announced on November 9, 1995.

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  • Commune/Sangkat Councilors Election on 5 June 2022

    Commune/Sangkat Councilors Election on 5 June 2022

Commune/Sangkat Councilors

Commune/Sangkat Councilors

The Commune/Sangkat upcoming election on June 5, 2022, Candle Light Party (CLP) is emerging as the primary opposition party with the most candidates across the country after the CPP. Contesting in 25 provinces, 1,632 communes. Fielded 23,367 candidates, of which 5,320 (23%) are women. The sixty four Civil Societies signed petition called for “Minimum Conditions for A Free and Fair 2022 Commune Council Election in Cambodia” with their statement below: Cambodian civil society organizations make the following recommendations for the minimum conditions for a legitimate 2022 commune council election based on the principles of genuine, free, and fair elections. These principles are drawn from the Cambodian Constitution, international instruments and treaties, the Paris peace agreement, the recommendations of various United Nations bodies, and other stakeholders such as the IPU Standards on Free and Fair Elections.
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The Senate was created by an amendment to the Constitution of the Kingdom of Cambodia (the “Constitution”) in 1999. It is a legislative body composed of 62 members. Fifty-eight of the Senate seats are elected every six years by the commune councillors from 24 provinces of Cambodia and members of the National Assembly. In addition, the King nominates two Senators, and the National Assembly nominates two, ending with a total of 62 Senators. The Senate performs its duties as prescribed in the constitution and internal regulations. The first Senate session was held on March 25, 1999, and the first election was held on January 22, 2006. The next election is due in 2024.
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National Assembly

National Assembly

The National Assembly is one of the two houses (chambers) of the Parliament of Cambodia. It is referred to as the lower house, with the Senate being referred to as the upper house. The National Assembly is an elected body consisting of 125 members known as Members of Parliament (MPs). Members are elected for five-year terms by party-list proportional representation, using provinces as constituencies of 1 to 18 members, and the DHondt method of seat distribution. A political party must secure 63 seats to obtain and preserve a majority.
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Executive power is exercised by the Royal Government, on behalf of and with the consent of the monarch. The government is constituted of the Council of Ministers, headed by the prime minister. The prime minister is aided in his functions by members of the Council such as deputy prime ministers, senior ministers and other ministers. Legislative power is vested in a bicameral legislature composed of the National Assembly, which has the power to vote on draft law, and the Senate, that has the power of review. Upon passage of legislation through the two chambers, the draft law is presented to the monarch for signing and promulgation. The judiciary is tasked with the protection of rights and liberties of the citizens, and with being an impartial arbiter of disputes. The Supreme Court is the highest court of the country and takes appeals from lower courts on questions of law.
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Cambodians vote as new opposition party seeks gains

Cambodians vote as new opposition party seeks gains

Op-Ed: Reuters By Prak Chan Thul

Opposition Cambodia National Rescue Party lawmaker Son Chhay speaks during a news conference in Phnom Penh
Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen and China's State Councillor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi attend a handover ceremony at the Morodok Techo National Stadium, in Phnom Penh


Opposition Cambodia National Rescue Party lawmaker Son Chhay speaks during a news conference in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, September 25, 2017. REUTERS/Samrang Pring/File Photo

PHNOM PENH, June 5 (Reuters) – Cambodians voted in local elections on Sunday as a reborn opposition movement sought to mount a challenge to the party of longtime leader Hun Sen.

Authorities under the ruling Cambodian People’s Party (CPP) have in recent years moved to crush dissent, with more than 100 opposition members jailed under charges including treason, prompting international criticism of Hun Sen, who has ruled for 37 years.

Full results were expected on Monday, but partial tallies late on Sunday showed the new Candlelight Party ahead in just four of 1,652 communes voting, with the CPP leading in the rest, according to the National Election Commission’s website.

The Candlelight Party largely regroups the former main opposition Cambodia National Rescue Party that was dissolved by a court ahead of the last national elections. 

Lines of people queued in polling stations amid heightened security before polls closed at 3 p.m.(0800 GMT) on Sunday.

“For our local governance, we want commune chiefs who don’t oppress people and treat people well,” said voter Chum Phivoat, 39, as he took a selfie with his black-inked finger as a proof of his vote.

Few voters would say which party they supported.

“I just want peace and that Cambodia is forever peaceful. I want commune authorities that make my life easy, so that I can have the ability to pay off debt,” said voter Long Savun, 67,

The United Nations human rights representative accused the authorities of suppressing the opposition in the election.

“We are disturbed by the pattern of threats, intimidation and obstruction targeting opposition candidates,” UN Human Rights Office spokesperson Liz Throssell said in a statement before the vote.

About 9.2 million voters were registered to vote for 11,622 councillors and chiefs in 1,652 communes and sub-districts across the country.

Many see the commune elections as a bellwether for national elections due next year.

Writing by Kanupriya Kapoor; Editing by Kay Johnson, William Mallard and Raissa Kasolowsky

Cambodians vote in local election amid intimidation, threats

Cambodians vote in local election amid intimidation, threats

Op-Ed: Associated Press Sat, June 4, 2022, 5:25 p.m.·3 min read

PHNOM PENH, Cambodia (AP) — Cambodians headed to the polls Sunday in local elections that are their first chance to vote since the ruling party of long-serving Prime Minister Hun Sen swept a 2018 general election that was widely criticized as unfair.

Hun Sen’s Cambodian People’s Party is certain to sail to easy victory again following what the U.N. Human Rights Office charged Thursday was a pattern of “threats, intimidation and obstruction targeting opposition candidates. ”

“Candidates have faced numerous restrictions and reprisals that have hindered their activities, with imprisonment of a number of candidates that appears designed to curb political campaigning,” the agency said. It added that at least six opposition candidates and activists were in detention four days before the polls, awaiting trial, while others summonsed on politically motivated charges had gone into hiding.

Cambodia’s delegation at the U.N. Geneva offices said in a statement that the criticism was “erroneous, politicized and selective.” It said “all political parties, including opposition ones, have fully exercised their rights in line with the laws and registered schedules without any threats and obstruction.”

Hun Sen, an authoritarian ruler in a nominally democratic state, has held power for 37 years. He has said he intends to stay in office until 2028 and has endorsed one of his sons to succeed him.

His party is the only one to field candidates nationwide in all 1,652 communes. Its only serious rival, the Candlelight Party, has candidates in 1,632 communes, and the royalist FUNCINPEC Party has challengers in 688 communes. There are a total of 82,786 candidates from 17 political parties with 9.2 million registered voters.

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Statement on Preliminary Results of Commune Election


The Candle Light Party regrets the results of the 5th mandate Commune / Sangkat Election on June 5, 2022, as the results do not reflect the will of the Cambodian people.

Elections in a democracy system must be free, fair and just under the supervision of a neutral, non-partisan electoral body. However, the election on June 5, 2022 is not a fair environment, people are not free to participate in politics and free speech, and the electoral body is not yet independent through its management and implementation. A large amount of tasks are biased, including the composition of the leading members of this institution from top to bottom, almost all members are from the ruling party.

The Candle Light Party has been subjected to intimidation, from the preparation of the candidate list to the listing of the observers; all activities of mobilizing the people happened through the votes-buying, spying, intimidation, and harassment, continued unabated and they were not taken measures by the NEC at all.

On election day, almost all polling stations nationwide, where schools are located, are closed from 3 pm and people were evicted from monitoring the ballots counting sessions contrary to the instruction and authorization by the NEC. However, village chiefs of the ruling party and several representatives of the party’s organizations were allowed to stay on the complex, while some non-governmental observers were expelled from the polling station during the vote-counting, and in some case, just recording the result-sheets attached at the polling stations is also not allowed. These abuses, along with many other violations, have highlighted voters disenfranchisement activities.

The Candle Light Party determines that the 5th mandate Commune / Sangkat Election on June 5, 2022 is not free and fair at all.

Issued on Monday, the 7th waning day of the lunar month, the year of Tiger, Chatva Saka, BE 2566, which is on June 6, 2022

Candle Light Party

Cambodia’s reborn opposition under pressure ahead of local polls

Cambodia’s reborn opposition under pressure ahead of local polls

Op-Ed: Nikkei Asia EU has warned nation could face further sanctions in event of unfair election

Cambodia’s Candlelight Party supporters marching during the campaign for the June 5 communal elections in Phnom Penh on May 21.   © AP

SHAUN TURTON and BOPHA PHORN, Contributing WritersMay 30, 2022 14:29 JST

PHNOM PENH — A renewed grassroots force in Cambodian politics is taking on Prime Minister Hun Sen’s ruling party in nationwide local elections this weekend, thereby becoming the latest target of a crackdown on opponents that has intensified in recent years.

The Candlelight Party has emerged as the biggest opposition force to Hun Sen, who has ruled the country for 37 years. Its candidates will challenge the prime minister’s Cambodian People’s Party (CPP) in 1,623 of the 1,652 local government bodies known as communes, or sangkats, on June 5.

Candlelight was formerly the Sam Rainsy Party (SRP), which merged with Kem Sokha’s Human Rights Party in 2012 to form the Cambodia National Rescue Party (CNRP). Cambodia’s politically controlled judiciary forcibly dissolved the party in 2017 after it came close to winning the 2013 national election and almost gained a majority of the vote in the 2017 communal elections.

While its reactivation last year stirred factional divides in the opposition, the party has been careful to keep its distance from its founder and other exiled CNRP leaders, who face a raft of criminal cases brought by officials.

“We know for sure that the CPP is afraid of the Candlelight Party,” the party’s treasurer, Seng Mardi, told Nikkei Asia. “Even though they destroy, they dissolve the CNRP but they have not destroyed or dissolved the spirit of the democratic force.”

The party includes former CNRP members who requested “rehabilitation” from authorities to lift bans on their political participation enforced after the CNRP’s dissolution. Mardi said taking the focus off prominent opposition figures had worked in the group’s favor.

“In Cambodia, politics is always personality politics and now it’s not. This is the first time that we have no dominant politician’s name associated with a political party — it’s all grassroots,” said Mardi, who was previously a senator for the SRP.

Mardi said the party was hoping to reach about 80% of the results secured by the CNRP in the 2017 commune election, when it won 43.8% of the vote and took 489 communes.

Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen delivers a speech at the launching ceremony of the Cambodia-China Friendship Preah Kossamak Hospital in Phnom Penh on May 21.   © AP

The vote will provide an opportunity to gauge the impact of the ruling CPP’s relentless targeting of opponents of the regime, which has essentially rendered the country a one-party state.

With senior CNRP leaders like Sam Rainsy fleeing abroad to avoid jail, the CPP won all seats in the 2018 national election uncontested. In the years since, hundreds of opposition activists and supporters have been jailed.

The electoral environment is neither free nor fair, according to the Asian Network for Free Elections (ANFREL). In a recent preelection assessment, ANFREL found opponents, particularly Candlelight members, faced “intimidation and harassment,” while “undemocratic” laws were open to abuse. The majority of members of the National Election Committee, which administers the ballot, are affiliated with the CPP, as are most accredited observers.

The NEC has disqualified at least 150 Candlelight candidates for not meeting the Khmer literacy requirements set out in laws regulating local elections, according to ANFREL.

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Attackers in Cambodia topple motorbike, injure local election opposition candidate

Attackers in Cambodia topple motorbike, injure local election opposition candidate

The Candlelight Party says authorities harass their candidates and supporters at the behest of the ruling party.

Op-Ed: By RFA Khmer

Attackers in Cambodia topple motorbike, injure local election opposition candidateSorn Chanthorn, representing the Candlelight Party in Cambodia’s upcoming commune elections, takes part in an election campaign in this file photo.

 citizen journalist

Two attackers on Thursday injured an opposition candidate for a local council in Cambodia’s upcoming commune elections, an incident she and members of her party said is another example of intimidation and harassment that they have faced in the run-up to the June 5 vote.

Sorn Chanthorn is running for a seat on the Tra Paing Prasat Commune council in the northwestern province of Oddar Meanchey, representing the opposition Candlelight Party. While she was driving to a campaign function, she said the attackers kicked her motorbike, causing her to crash. She believes the attackers wanted her to withdraw her candidacy.

“I think it was a politically motivated case because I never had any problems like this in the past,” she said, adding that she would not file a complaint because she has no confidence that the police will help her.

Tra Paing Prasat district Police Chief Ouch Mao said he hasn’t received any information about the incident. Nevertheless, he said that he doesn’t believe the attack was politically motivated.

He said it was sad to hear that Sorn Chanthorn doesn’t have confidence in his department. “So far, I resolved complaints without any political discrimination,” he said.

Candlelight Party officials have complained for weeks about incidents of violence and bullying by local officials representing Prime Minister Hun Sen’s ruling Cambodian People’s Party (CPP). Election monitors have also been harassed, causing several to resign, they said.

“The authorities don’t have any measures to prevent intimidation,” Thatch Setha, one of the Candlelight Party’s two vice presidents, told RFA’s Khmer Service Thursday.

“They destroy our party’s signs and assault our supporters,” he said, adding that authorities do nothing to stop it.

Every five years, voters in the nation of 16 million people elect councils to represent rural precincts know as communes and urban districts called sangkat. This year some 86,000 candidates from 17 political parties are competing for 11,622 seats in 1,652 precincts nationwide.

While the councils hold relatively little power, the June 5 election will test the dominance of the CPP and the limits of political freedom for opponents five years into Hun Sen’s crackdown on civil society, media and the internet.

CPP spokesman Sok Ey San dismissed the Candlelight Party’s complaints as exaggerations designed to muddy the election environment. He urged it to file complaints with the National Election Committee (NEC), set up to be an independent organization, but that has in the past been criticized for corruption and close ties to the CPP.

“It is merely allegation,” Sok Ey San said. “No one dares to threaten [the Candlelight Party].”

Kang Savang, an election monitor with the independent Committee for Free and Fair Elections in Cambodia NGO, told RFA he has not received any definitive reports of political intimidation, but he urged victims to report election violations to the NEC.

“The victims should, however, not simply make verbal complaints. They should make notes and file complaints if it is important,” he said.  

Party violations

Cambodia’s Minister of Interior Sar Kheng on Wednesday said the Candlelight Party violated its statute by appointing Son Chhay as a vice president earlier in the year. Son Chhay was banned from politics for his affiliation with the opposition Cambodia National People’s Party, which was dissolved by Cambodia’s Supreme Court in 2017, a move that allowed Hun Sen’s CPP to win all 125 parliamentary seats the following year.

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