Governor Offers Advice to Commune Council

Phnom Penh Governor Chea Sophara had some solid political advice for the city’s new commune councils Monday: Keep the sewers clear. Fight crime. Don’t disappoint the people who voted for you.

The governor spoke to a crowd of about 500 at the New World Restaurant near Wat Phnom, where he inaugurated the 11-member council for Srah Chak commune, one of 76 in the city.

“This is an historic event,” he told the council, which consists of six members of the CPP, four from the Sam Rainsy Party and one from Funcinpec.

He said the Feb 3 commune council election shifted power from the central government to the people, and encouraged the new members to listen to their constituents and to share good ideas with others in government.

City Hall’s doors will always be open to the councils, whether they want to file complaints or ask for help, Chea Sophara said. But he warned the candidates not to ignore problems in their neighborhoods and then expect the city to solve them.

“During the rainy season, don’t let the sewers back up, because floods will damage the roads and it costs a lot of money to repair a road,” he said. “If you have clog­ged sewers during the rainy season, I will blame you if you have not cleaned them.”

Chhay Thirith, the new CPP commune chief for Sra Chak, thanked the governor for his advice and promised “to do my best to develop the commune.”

The new councils took office as the National Election Committee issued corrected final numbers for the election. According to the NEC, the CPP took 7,697 seats nationwide, followed by Fun­cinpec with 2,209 and the Sam Rainsy Party with 1,345.

The European Union has concluded, based on its observers’ reports, that the elections “mark progress for democracy in Cam­bodia but they also raise some concerns.”

Specifically, the EU voiced its “deep concern” regarding incidents before the election, including “the violent deaths of several candidates and activists,” and “the intimidation of voters.”  and the uneven access of the contending parties to the state media.”

The first deputy chief will be from the Sam Rainsy Party and the second deputy from Funcinpec


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