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Saturday, September 09, 2006


September 9, 2006


Poipet is Cambodia's largest commune with over 100,000 inhabitants.

On September 11, 2006, Poipet commune council led by SRP commune chief Hay Nam Heng will organize a ceremony at the commune office in Banteay Meanchey province to inaugurate eleven village chiefs who have recently been elected by the commune council. Among the eleven village chiefs, five are affiliated with the CPP, four with the SRP, and two with Funcinpec.

Reflecting the outcome of local elections held in 2002, the 11-member commune council is made up of 5 councilors from the SRP (including the commune chief), 4 from the CPP, and 2 from Funcinpec. Earlier this year, despite the fact that they had collected less popular votes than the SRP in 2002, the ruling CPP planned to take the control of all the commune's eleven villages. However, among the four CPP councilors, two refused to obey their party's instructions and suggested instead that the commune's eleven villages be fairly shared among the three political parties represented in the commune council.

On June 14, 2006, an election was held to set up a Commune Election Committee to organize the election of village chiefs. A SRP councilor was elected as President of the Committee thanks to the support from a CPP councilor. The CPP leadership identified councilor Luy Kim Sun as the "traitor" and fired him two days later.

On June 21, 2006, the commune council met and elected the eleven village chiefs as detailed above. The CPP's plan to take the control of the eleven villages was foiled because of the "betrayal" of CPP councilor Pen Tho. The latter was fired a few days later. Then, the CPP started to cry foul and alleged that the election was rigged. After the hasty, hectic and controversial replacement of Luy Kim Sun and Pen Thol with two new councilors who are believed to follow the party's line more faithfully, the CPP is calling for new elections to be held for (only) the four village chief positions won by the SRP.

Given the principles of decentralization, the CCP's current demarche is illegal since the Central Government has no right to intervene in an election of village chiefs that have been organized by commune authorities in accordance with clearly defined rules and procedures. Everything is over now.

The Poipet commune council has invited Members of Parliament from the three political parties, as well as diplomats and NGO leaders, to attend the inauguration ceremony as guests of honor.

We will attend in spite of increasing threat and intimidation.

SRP Members of Parliament

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