More than 2,000 Sam Rainsy Party commune councilors will participate in a one-day party congress on Jan 31 to prepare for May’s district and provincial council elections.
SRP President Sam Rainsy said by telephone Sunday that the party will hold the congress Saturday in order to draw up a strategy for the May elections, in which commune councilors will vote to select district and provincial councilors.
Of particular concern, Sam Rainsy said, were fears that the ruling CPP would attempt to buy off SRP councilors ahead of the vote. The congress will provide an opportunity to steel opposition councilors against any such advances, he said.
“The CPP is using money, we don’t give away money,” Sam Rainsy said. “We will strengthen and motivate [our commune councilors] to work for the benefit of the people,” he added.
Sam Rainsy also called for the Ministry of Interior after months of delay to finally replace about 200 SRP commune councilors who had defected to the CPP or passed away.
If the Ministry of Interior doesn’t replace the SRP commune councilors ahead of the May elections, Sam Rainsy says he will call on the international community not to recognize the election results.
SRP lawmaker Kuy Bunroeun said Sunday that the party has requested that the ministry replace the officials since June of last year but to no avail.
“This is the CPP’s political intention to affect the SRP’s votes in the May district and provincial council elections,” Kuy Bunroeun said.
CPP lawmaker Cheam Yeap denied Sunday that the CPP plans to buy off other political parties’ commune councilors to gain their votes.
“The CPP doesn’t have money to buy off people,” Cheam Yeap said. “We have strong [political] capital from the previous election, so we don’t need to buy people,” he said.
Leng Vy, director-general of local administration at the Ministry of Interior, acknowledged that the appointment of new SRP commune councilors has not happened, but said the delays lie with officials at the commune through provincial levels, and not with the ministry.
“If the documents had reached the ministry, we would have replaced [the SRP councilors] but so there far [the documents] have been delayed,” he said.
“I am advising to the commune councilors to send documents [to the ministry] as soon as possible; we must replace them all before the May’s election,” Leng Vy said.