Cambodians will go to the polls on July 27 for a general election in which more than eight million people are expected to cast their vote, an election commission official said on Monday.
Incumbent Prime Minister Hun Sen -- the longest-serving elected premier in Southeast Asia with 23 years in power -- and his ruling Cambodian People's Party (CPP) are widely expected to win the poll.
Tep Nitha, secretary general of the National Election Committee (NEC), said that 8,124,391 people registered to vote before the February deadline.
"The date for the national elections is July 27, 2008," he told AFP. The last general election held in Cambodia in July 2003 saw the kingdom plunged into a year of political stalemate as parties wrangled over forming a coalition. A government was finally formed in July 2004.
Cambodia has 57 political parties, including the CPP, their coalition partner the royalist Funcinpec party, Prince Norodom Ranariddh's new eponymous party, and the opposition Sam Rainsy Party, historically the political underdog.
Twenty-three parties contested the 2003 poll, and Tep Nitha said he expected about 20 parties to register from April 28 to May 12 for this year's vote.
About 7,000 local election observers and 40 international monitoring bodies had registered to observe the election, he added.
Local elections last year saw about 68 per cent of the country's 7.7 million registered voters casting their ballot, the lowest turnout since Cambodia's first democratic election in 1993.