CPP Urged to Guard Against Election Violence

Prime Minister Hun Sen asked CPP members to ensure there is no violence against candidates from other parties during the run-up to February’s commune elections, CPP Senator Chhang Song said Wednesday.

Hun Sen spoke to party members Wednesday morning, the first day of the party’s annual two-day meeting. Speaking outside the headquarters of Apsara Tel­evision after the morning session, Chhang Song said the premier told the party that if provincial and local officials do not intervene to en­sure security for candidates, then the CPP ultimately will be blamed for any violence.

Several candidates who have pledged allegiance to either the Sam Rainsy Party or Funcinpec have been attacked in the past month. Human rights groups con­cluded that the July 1 shooting death of a Sam Rainsy Party can­didate in Kompong Speu pro­vince was probably politically motivated.

A key focus of the meeting is to plan strategy for the elections in the country’s 1,621 communes. Chhang Song said the party discussed the thorny problem of how to replace unpopular commune chiefs, some of whom have held their positions for 20 years.

“The CPP is encouraging some of the older chiefs not to stand for election,” he said. “But the party is concerned that if we forget the old chiefs, they may feel disappointed and leave the party for another party.”

In June, CPP Cabinet Chief Tep Ngorn said as many as 30 per­cent of the current commune chiefs will be replaced by new CPP nominees. Earlier this year, the party conducted surveys in Phnom Penh, asking potential voters which CPP nominees are most likely to get their vote.

CPP President Chea Sim told the more than 600 party members who attended Wednesday that the CPP wants to increase the size of the 153-member Central Committee. The committee wants to recruit newer members, including those who be­longed to other parties before join­ing the CPP, he said.

, he said.


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