Commune Election Losers to Keep Salaries, Ruling Party Says

After Prime Minister Hun Sen presided over a closed-door meeting in Phnom Penh on Sunday with local ruling party officials from across the city, a ruling party spokesman said commune officials who lose their seats in upcoming elections would continue to be paid by the party.

Local officials who attended Sunday’s meeting at the Koh Pich auditorium said the prime minister used the meeting to encourage them to work hard to serve the people and win their commune elections on June 4.

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Local ruling party officials from across Phnom Penh gather on Sunday on Koh Pich island for a meeting with Prime Minister Hun Sen ahead of commune elections in June. (Fresh News)

“Samdech [Mr. Hun Sen] sent the message to disseminate and advise our family members to go vote, and don’t let the other party dilute our voice,” said Yin Narom, a Chbar Ampov district official.

At the same time, however, the ruling party also seems prepared for losses in the local elections that it dominated in 2012, winning 1,592 out of 1,633 communes nationwide.

CPP spokesman Sok Eysan said on Sunday that commune-level officials who lose their positions would be guaranteed a monthly payment equal to their salary.

“We will consider them as party officials and will support their living conditions, especially by providing their salaries,” Mr. Eysan said, adding that he had not attended Sunday’s meeting.

“It means that however much the commune chief receives [in wages], we will donate the same amount to them,” the spokesman explained.

Mr. Eysan’s comments are similar to a plan outlined in a directive dated February 16 and signed by Deputy Prime Minister Men Sam An, in which she told government offices to hire commune officials who fail to get elected or are left off the candidate list for this year’s election.

In that directive, written on behalf of Mr. Hun Sen, she said “directors of state institutions must accept commune chiefs, first deputy commune chiefs, second deputy commune chiefs and commune councilors whose names are not in the list of the 2017 mandate and appoint them as assistants.”

The directive says that the salaries of former commune chiefs should be equal to a deputy department director; deputy commune chiefs equal to bureau chiefs, and commune councilors equal to deputy bureau chiefs.

Mr. Eysan said on Sunday that party money would be used to support officials who lose their jobs after the elections, though it was unclear if the same was true for those

who were not placed on the ballot.

The ruling party has come out hard ahead of

the elections against the CNRP’s campaign slogan: “Change commune chiefs who serve the party and replace them with commune chiefs who serve the people.”

Interior Minister Sar Kheng said last week that the slogan was illegal.

The CNRP has yet to announce whether it will drop the slogan, though opposition officials have indicated that the party will back


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