Cambodia’s National Election Committee (NEC) has announced that it rejected the request of recently-returned leader of the Cambodia National Rescue Party (CNRP) Sam Rainsy to stand as a parliamentary candidate for the country’s 5th National Assembly elections scheduled for July 28.

Talking to the press on July 22, NEC Chairman Im Um Suasday said after thorough consideration of Sam Rainsy’s request, the nine-member committee agreed that it cannot add the CNRP president’s name to the voter and official candidates list based on the electoral law.

According to the law, voters’ registration is conducted annually between October and December and Sam Rainsy's request was too late, he explained.

The CNRP leader returned to Cambodia on July 19 after nearly four years of living in exile to avoid a 12-year jail term for committing penal offences.

His return came after receiving a royal amnesty from King Norodom Sihamoni on July 12 at the request of Prime Minister Hun Sen.-VNA