Action Requested Against CPP Official in Siem Reap

Opposition leader Sam Rainsy has written to Interior Minister Sar Kheng requesting action against a CPP official in Siem Reap province who is allegedly blocking the re­placement of an SRP commune councilor who defected to the CPP.

Because of defections within the party, the SRP has requested that 126 commune council officials be replaced with new nominees. To date, only 46 of those requests have been granted, SRP Secretary-General Mu Sochua said.

“The CPP are sitting on the Sam Rainsy Party positions,” she said.

In his letter to Sar Kheng, Sam Rainsy accused Srei Snam District Governor Chhin Moni of delaying the replacement of Sleng Spean commune councilor Pak Poeun, who joined the CPP in June.

According to a copy of a letter allegedly written by Chhin Moni, the delay in replacing the commune councilor is part of a strategy to help the CPP win votes in the May 2009 district council elections.

In the Sept 17 letter, a copy of which was sent by Sam Rainsy to Sar Kheng, Chhin Moni asks Siem Reap Governor Sou Phirin to delay giving the commune position to the new SRP nominee Am Bel.

“In order to draw votes for the CPP during the district council election ahead, please, will His Excel­lency [Sou Phirin] temporarily delay the replacement,” the letter states.

Contacted by telephone Wed­­nes­day, Chhin Moni confirmed sending the letter to Sou Phirin, though he declined to comment on its contents. Chhin Moni said the reason Pak Poeun had not yet been re­placed was due to “problems with the paperwork.”

“It will take another 20 days for it to be approved,” he added.

Sou Phirin could not be reached for comment Wednesday.

Ministry of Interior spokesmen Lieutenant General Khieu Sopheak said by telephone that he had not seen the letter from Sam Rainsy and declined to comment.

Ministry of Interior Secretary of State Sak Setha said that commune officials who change parties must be replaced after a request is received from the party in question.

“They will be replaced as long as the party provides enough documents,” he added.

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