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Election NGO fends off PM’s criticisms

Election NGO fends off PM’s criticisms

LOCAL election monitor Comfrel yesterday moved to defend itself against criticisms from Prime Minister Hun Sen, who said this week that the body’s most recent quarterly report on the National Assembly was biased toward the opposition Sam Rainsy Party.

During a speech to hundreds of officials at the Chaktomuk conference centre on Wednesday, the premier said the report, released in October, was misleading.

“There was an evaluation that our lawmakers did not visit their constituencies and lawmakers from the opposition party visited their constituencies more than us,” Hun Sen said. “I am sorry, you are wrong.”

Koul Panha, Comfrel’s executive director, said yesterday that the report was designed to provide an accurate and balanced assessment of the National Assembly.

“We collected all information related to the National Assembly and individual lawmakers, because we need the voters to have information about their representatives,” he said.

“We will accept any feedback in order to improve our report monitoring the National Assembly and individual lawmakers, and if the government officials want to know how we [conducted the] analysis in our report, we are ready to explain.”

During the same speech on Wednesday, Hun Sen also alleged that he has spies embedded within the SRP, who are relaying “secret information” about the party’s activities.

“The person [inside the SRP] who is insulting me more than the others is who is leaking more secret information,” he said.

“There are many Hun Sen spies embedded in the opposition party and if the SRP wants to hide its secrets, its must destroy the entire group.”

Chea Poch, an SRP lawmaker, yesterday described Hun Sen’s comments as an attempt to “incite” problems within the opposition party. He said he was confident that SRP members were loyal to the opposition and would continue to “frankly discuss” party affairs internally.

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