Hundreds of leaflets accusing CPP lawmaker Sary Korsal and other government officials in Pursat city of faking records in order to feign popular support for the proposed replacement of a local market were discovered yesterday morning.
The leaflet accuses Mr Korsal, a former Krakor district governor, of colluding with district council chief Soth Dara and provincial official Khoy Rompeuy to alter the results of a vote on whether to build a new market on the site of the existing Krakor market.
When a majority of the vendors rejected the plan to build a new market, the leaflet claims, Mr Korsal had voters register for the poll after the fact and he then submitted that registration document to provincial authorities to claim that most had voted for a new market.
The leaflet also accused Mr Dara of ordering the commune chief to provide the names of all vendors who were CPP members but voted against the plan in order to kick them out of the party.
“This action betrays the party and nation,” the leaflet reads. “The vendors dare to die if the leaders don’t help and may set a big SRP sign in front of the market if the provincial leaders still force vendors to move.”
A Krakor market vendor who asked not to be named for fear of retaliation said she did not know of the leaflets. But she agreed with its assertion that most vendors in early 2009 voted against the government’s plan to build a new market, out of fear that it would lead to higher rents—as much as $2,000 per year for two square meter plots.
“We don’t have money to rent the new stalls,” she said. “If they ask the vendors they will know of this problem.”
None of the three men named in the leaflet could be reached for comment. Pursat Governor Khoy Sokha, however, denied the vote-tampering claim.
He confirmed that the province has contracted with a private firm—whose name he could not recall—to rebuild the market, but he added that authorities would attempt to negotiate an appropriate rent with the unhappy vendors.
“We are coordinating between the vendors and the investor to reduce the price of renting a stall or [increase] the repayment period,” Mr Sokha said.