The SRP held its first internal election of provincial SRP council members in Kompong Cham province on Sunday, party President Sam Rainsy said.
The SRP’s 386 district councilors and 173 commune representatives in Kompong Cham voted to elect 45 members of the party’s provincial council, Sam Rainsy said, adding that SRP officials were due to elect a provincial council chief for the party on Sunday evening.
The provincial councilors will be responsible for electing SRP candidates for the 2008 national elections, as well as members of the party’s steering committee, Sam Rainsy said.
“The SRP will conduct this reform in all provinces…by July,” he said. By voting “from the bottom up”—with councilors from each level electing the ones above them—the SRP is reforming the process of party elections, he added.
“It’s quite a dramatic change in Cambodian tradition, which gives all the power to the chief and leaves the person at the top to appoint leaders at lower levels,” he said.
CPP lawmaker Cheam Yeap said local CPP leaders have long been chosen by supporters from the lower levels, whose opinions were gauged through surveys at the village level. “The CPP works in a way they do not understand…if CPP appointed chiefs whom the people don’t know, from the top, the CPP could not win elections,” he said.