Parties to Focus on Commune Constituents in First 100 Days

Newly elected commune officials are expected to take office next month and will hit the ground running, main party leaders said, with both the ruling CPP and opposition CNRP vowing to prioritize serving local constituents.

In their first 100 days in office, the CNRP’s councilors will be expected to meet the party goal of “transparent, responsive local government with active citizen participation,” said Kem Monovithya, the CNRP’s deputy public affairs director, in an email on Monday.

They will also be more accessible. The party intends to post local officials’ telephone numbers at commune offices, along with the prices of public services with a set timeframe for service delivery, Ms. Monovithya said.

CNRP lawmaker Son Chhay, who sits on a committee with Ms. Monovithya that will oversee the support and training of party councilors, said new officials needed to make their constituents feel comfortable when requesting services, such as official documents.

“They have to let the people know who they are,” Mr. Chhay said.

The CPP, meanwhile, will focus on keeping its campaign promises, said party spokesman and lawmaker Suos Yara in a message on Sunday. They included economic development and maintaining peace and security.

“Our priority is to make sure we deliver the promises that we gave the people during the campaign,” Mr. Yara said.

Councilors would receive regular training in “conflict resolution and local-level leadership” from government and civil society experts to help them carry out their duties, as well as “administrative, technical and financial support” from the party, he said.

New commune officials will take office within 14 days of the National Election Committee’s official announcement of the June 4 commune elections results, which is due on June 25, Mr. Yara said.

Local funding constraints might leave the opposition struggling to achieve some of their aims, said political analyst Cham Bunthet, who is an adviser to the Grassroots Democracy Party.

“But the CPP, I think they have more opportunities to get that done than the opposition,” he said, explaining that the ruling party has greater access to resources distributed to local authorities from the central government.

Ms. Monovithya said a potential lack of cooperation from commune clerks, village chiefs and police may be a challenge, but the CNRP’s goals would not solely be achieved by spending.

“Actions that require good working ethics but not necessarily money” will be prioritized, she said. “Stop the discrimination in delivering services to people—that’s an easy and yet important one.”

surrusco@cambodiadaily.com

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