CNRP Boycotts Vote on City Procurement Panel

The opposition CNRP walked out of a meeting of the Phnom Penh City Council in protest on Thursday after their CPP counterparts refused to delay a vote on replacing one of the seven members of the city’s procurement committee.

The 21-member City Council gets to select up to three people from its ranks to sit on the procurement committee and was scheduled on Thursday to vote on one candidate. But when the CNRP’s six city councilors saw that the candidate was a CPP counterpart, they insisted on delaying the vote in hopes of putting forward a CNRP candidate instead.

“We want to have a CNRP member on this committee to protect the public interest,” said the CNRP’s Morn Phalla. But when the council refused to delay the vote, he said, “we walked away.”

Fellow CNRP councilor Kim Sophea said the council typically gets few details about city purchases and wants one of its own on the procurement committee to make sure the public gets the best deals.

“When we have city council meetings we always get the final report, never the detailed report. But when we join the committee, we will get the detailed reports,” he said.

Despite the walkout, the vote went ahead and the council voted in CPP councilor Chuop Khon.

“Even though we boycotted the meeting, they went ahead with it anyway because they have the majority,” CNRP councilor Sok Sek said.

City Hall spokesman Long Dimanche defended the vote.

“The boycott is wrong because according to the interministerial directive, the City Council members make decisions by majority vote of 50 percent plus one, and they agreed to pick one person, His Excellency Chuop Khon, so we cannot put our hands into internal affairs,” he said.

“There is no policy that says two members will be from the CPP and one from the CNRP,” he said.

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