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SRP worried by councillor delays

Written By vibykhmer on Thursday, March 12, 2009 | 7:57 AM


The Phnom Penh Post

Written by Vong Sokheng
Thursday, 12 March 2009

Party says discrimination slowing approval of commune officials, who have a vote in May poll.

Photo by: HENG CHIVOAN
CPP supporters during the July election. The SRP claims political discrimination is impeding voter registration for the May poll.A SPOKESMAN for the opposition Sam Rainsy Party on Wednesday expressed concern that the party would not be able to fill all of its commune councillor positions in time for municipal, district and provincial council elections scheduled for May, citing a high number of current vacancies and a slow approval process.

In order the fill a councillor seat, party officials must submit an application and wait for it to be approved by district and provincial officials, the Ministry of Interior, and finally the National Election Committee.


Yim Sovann, the spokesman, told the Post Wednesday "at least 50 percent" of the party's estimated 200 commune councillor seats were empty because of defections, resignations or deaths.

The elections - which involve the Cambodian People's Party, the SRP, the Norodom Ranariddh Party and Funcinpec - will see 11,353 commune councillors vote to determine representation of their respective parties at the higher-level district councils and the municipal and provincial councils.

In order the fill a councillor seat, party officials must submit an application and wait for it to be approved by district and provincial officials, the Ministry of Interior, and finally the National Election Committee.

The NEC reported in February that it would accept applications up to March 10. Reached on Wednesday, however, NEC Secretary General Tep Nytha said the body was still accepting applications and would hold off on releasing a preliminary voter list until March 24. He said he knew of 50 applications that had yet to be approved by the Ministry of Interior.

Yim Sovann said he had appealed to district and provincial officials to expedite the approval of applications by processing forms more quickly.

He said the SRP made a similar request in a letter sent last month to the Ministry of Interior and the NEC.

"Political discrimination remains a major concern" in getting applications approved, he said.

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