Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - District elections on hold for near-term

District elections on hold for near-term

District elections on hold for near-term

Vice-Minister of Interior You Hokry denied that district level elections would

be held in the next six months. He stated, however, that "commune-level

elections would be held in the next year or two."

NGO and Human Rights

sources in Battambang said last week that they had been told by government

officials that nation-wide elections for District Chiefs would be held by

August.

Human rights officials in Phnom Penh who were approached for

confirmation disclaimed any knowledge of this, but agreed that if true, holding

elections would transform the political landscape.

"If district level

elections were held with real competition and secret ballots, that would be a

strong move toward democracy," one said.

Currently, none of the officials

at the village, commune, district or Provincial level are elected. Hokry

indicated that village and district chiefs will continue to be

appointed.

Hokry who said that there are several reforms needed in the

civil administration sector before any elections can be held.

"The first

move is to install the new governors," Hokry said. Ten FUNCINPEC governors have

replaced State of Cambodia governors of Provinces. In some cases, the former

governor is now a Vice-Governor. The changes were made in the last month.

Hokry added: "Secondly the new management structure in the Ministry of

Interior has to be filled out. Third, police commissioners in the provinces have

to be appointed."

The minister said that in provinces where the governor

is from the FUNCINPEC party, the police chief will be from the Cambodian

People's Party, and vice versa.

Finally, District Chiefs have to be

appointed, Hokry said. He added "then elections for commune chief can be held in

a year or two."

Currently leaders at all levels of the civil

administration are appointed.

With the exception of the newly-appointed

governors and vice-governors, the administrative layers in the country are those

that were in place before the UN-organized May elections.

Battambang NGO

workers said that for the 80 per cent of the population which lives in the

countryside, village chiefs are the most important leader. They are primarily

involved in settling disputes and over-seeing the use and distribution of

land.

NGO workers indicated that if the village leaders were elected,

they would be more accountable to the villagers.

Though village chiefs

have been selected by the government during the period of the State of Cambodia,

Khmer cultural expert Dr Peter Gyallay-Pap says that traditionally the village

chiefs were selected democratically.

Dr Gyallay-Pap said that though

there were not now open elections, a consensus emerged on the man best suited to

lead the village in a manifestly democratic process.

MOST VIEWED

  • ‘Education’ a priority traffic-law penalty

    A top National Police official on June 21 neither rejected nor confirmed the authenticity of a leaked audio message, which has gone viral on social media, on a waiver of fines for a number of road traffic-related offences. General Him Yan, deputy National Police chief in

  • Volunteer scheme to foster ‘virtuous’ humanitarian spirit

    A senior education official said volunteer work contributes to solidarity and promotes a virtuous humanitarian spirit among the youth and communities. Serei Chumneas, undersecretary of state at the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sport, made the comment during the opening of a training programme called “

  • Chinese firms unveil preliminary results on metro, monorail for capital

    Minister of Public Works and Transport Sun Chanthol and representatives from China Road and Bridge Corp (CRBC) and its parent company, the state-owned China Communications Construction Co Ltd (CCCC), met on June 24 for talks on results of the firms’ preliminary study on a potential metro

  • ACLEDA, WU to enable global money transfers

    Cambodia's largest commercial bank by total assets ACLEDA Bank Plc and global money transfer firm Western Union (WU) have partnered to offer customers cross-border money transfers to 200 countries via “ACLEDA mobile” app. In Channy, president and group managing director of ACLEDA, said the June 22 agreement

  • Aeon, Micromax partner again for third mall

    AEON Mall (Cambodia) Co Ltd and a locally-owned Micromax Co Ltd have entered into a partnership agreement to develop fibre optic infrastructure for $200 million Aeon Mall 3, which is expected to be opened in 2023. The agreement was signed on June 20 between Masayuki Tsuboya, managing director of

  • Walmart plans to diversify stock of Cambodia goods

    Walmart Inc, the world’s biggest retailer, on June 22 reiterated recent plans to scale up and greatly diversify its purchases of Cambodian products, according to the labour ministry. This came during a virtual working meeting between Minister of Labour and Vocational Training Ith Samheng and