Sam Rainsy Official: Party Lacks Transparency

Voicing rare public displeasure with his own party’s internal policies, opposition lawmaker Khem Veasna said Friday that the Sam Rainsy Party’s current practice of appointing its election candidates was undemocratic and could lead to corruption among the ranks.

“Assigning a candidate by the party might involve corruption,” Khem Veasna, parliamentarian for Prey Veng province, said by phone Friday. “It is a decision in the darkness.”

The lawmaker called for the opposition to quickly implement reforms promised by party leader Sam Rainsy last month to hold elections among party activists for posts ranging from the village level to the party president.

He added that there was currently no transparency in how the party chooses its candidates.

Khem Veasna, who joined the Sam Rainsy Party during its in­ception in 1997, also criticized the party’s name, saying it should not be named after its president.

“There is no democracy when the party is self-named,” he said.

Contacted by phone Friday, Sam Rainsy welcomed Khem Veasna’s comments, saying his complaints were already being addressed. In November, the party leader had announced that internal elections would be held next year as part of a plan to re­vamp the opposition in preparation for the 2008 national election.

“Our reforms will start from the low levels,” Sam Rainsy said. He added that his party had chosen to name it after himself to avoid having the name claimed by another party. He charged that Khem Veasna was “probably not aware of the party’s history.”


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