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People search for their names on the newly released NEC voter lists in Phnom Penh's Tonle Bassac commune in January. Pha Lina

Commune candidates resign over placement

Three CNRP commune council candidates from Kampong Chhnang province resigned from the party on Saturday and said they would probably defect to the ruling party, with an opposition official attributing it to unhappiness over their rankings in the candidate list.

The three – Ry Chantha, Nov Oeun and Chan Hun – were candidates from Kampong Tralach commune, and did not list a reason for leaving the party, though they did say they wanted to move to the Cambodian People’s Party. The three could not be reached yesterday.

However, Keo Sarin, the Cambodia National Rescue Party’s chief executive for the province, said Chantha was unhappy with being ranked fourth on the candidate list, despite being a newcomer to the party. The other two were only reserve candidates. Sarin noted that those above Chantha on the list had greater name recognition. “For commune elections, we need people that locals know.”

National Election Committee spokesman Hang Puthea said candidate lists were being reviewed until March 18, and after that, parties were only allowed to remove candidates, not add new ones.

Meanwhile, another leaked recording of a purported conversation between CNRP lawmakers was released yesterday by the “Seiha” Facebook page, which has leaked multiple such embarrassing clips, raising concerns over the possibility of illegal wiretapping.

The audio, allegedly between Chea Poch and Kong Bora, contains two people profanely mocking a party “president” and “vice president”. Kem Sokha was recently named party president, along with three vice presidents.

In a seeming nod to the ubiquity of such leaks, one voice jokingly asks “Seiha” to record the chat.

Reached yesterday, both lawmakers denied being part of the conversation.

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