The Interior Minister yesterday decided to delete 22 political parties from its official register ahead of the national election next year.
According to a letter signed by Interior Minister Sar Kheng, the parties are being dissolved in line with recent amendments to the Law on Political Parties.
They are mostly inactive and have not taken part in polls for several years. The leaders are living overseas or have died.
The parties include the Khmer Nation Party, which was established by former opposition leader Sam Rainsy, the Buddhist Liberal Democratic Party, which fielded candidates in the 1993 election, the Khmer Republic Party, which was run by one of Lon Nol’s sons but never received any seats, and the Khmer Solidarity Party.
The director-general of the ministry’s general department of administration Prak Sam Oeun said all parties had been given an option to fill out paperwork and remain active, but had failed to do so.
“Under the new amendment to the law, the ministry allows parties 180 days to register and provide validation of political action, but they did not fulfil the requirements,” he said.
Lak Sopheap, president of Khmer Solidarity Party, which was formed in 2015, said she had received one notice from the Ministry of Interior regarding the case, but did not know the party was going to be deleted.
“I will meet Interior Ministry officials to prepare the relevant documents and register the party again,” she said. “The Khmer Solidarity Party will continue to work for the freedom of the Khmer people and the nation.”
Ms Sopheap added the party will stand in the 2018 national election.
Sam Kuntheamy, executive director of election watchdog NICFEC, said the number of parties set to be deleted seemed high.
“The ministry should issue final instructions or announcements before deleting the political parties,” he said. “Our country is adopting a policy of having a liberal multi-party democracy, so we want the participation of more political parties.”