Gov’t Fails To Fulfill Pledges From 2003: Report

The government has not honored the majority of the 73 pledg­es it made in the wake of the 2003 national elections, the Committee for Free and Fair Elections said in a new report.

Though the National Assembly has recently hurried through controversial legislation such as the adultery law, it has so far failed to pass “vital” laws on anti-corruption, demonstrations and strikes, Comfrel said in the report, which covers events between 2004 and 2006.

The government has also failed to establish a commercial court and a neutral national human rights committee, Comfrel said in the report released Tuesday.

Authorities have also not met promises to establish courts to resolve labor disputes and to try minors, or to approve the penal code. And while the CPP/Fun­cinpec coalition government has increased economic growth as pledged, it has managed the national budget inefficiently and hasn’t ensured an equitable distribution of wealth, the report said.

“The government has been late to fulfill its promises because of corruption and its inefficiency,” Mar Sophal, Comfrel’s head of monitoring, said by telephone Wednesday.

The 73 pledges were made shortly after the current government was formed July 15, 2004, following nearly a year-long political deadlock.

Comfrel said the government has only successfully fulfilled 30 per­cent, or about 22, of the pledg­es. If the government continues at its current rate, it will not complete the pledges before the 2008 national election, the report added.

The promises fulfilled last year include forming the Throne Council, adopting the Civil Code and raising civil servants’ salaries, Comfrel said.

Koul Panha, Comfrel’s executive director, declined comment.

On Tuesday, Prime Minister Hun Sen accused Comfrel of being biased against him and lambasted an unidentified individual who appeared to be Koul Panha.

Government spokesman and Information Minister Khieu Kan­harith said Wednesday that the government has accomplished much since 2004.

“[In 2006] we had the first ever village chief election and the Senate election,” the minister said, adding that usually the government does not measure its suc­cesses in percentages.

The government is working to pass the anti-corruption law, he said, but the penal code must be adopted first.

Officials have been combating corruption in the form of right-hand drive cars being smuggled in from Thailand, and illegal logging in Ratanakkiri province, Khieu Kanharith said.

“We are working on [the remaining promises] but we cannot do 100 percent at once,” he said.

Funcinpec spokesman Nouv Sovathero said his party supports its coalition partner, the CPP, and its leadership of the government. The government has achieved more than Comfrel claims, he added.

“We cannot do everything at once,” he said. “The government has fulfilled between 50 and 60 percent of its promises.”

SRP lawmaker Yim Sovann said corrupt elements within the CPP are preventing the anti-corruption law from being passed.

Prince Sisowath Thomico of the Sangkum Jatiniyum Front Party said the government has deliberately not passed promised legislation because enforcing the rule of law would hamper its consolidation of power.





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