Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Opposition claims of 'vote buying' dismissed by CPP

Opposition claims of 'vote buying' dismissed by CPP

Opposition claims of 'vote buying' dismissed by CPP

090424_04.jpg
090424_04.jpg

NEC secretary general says preparations for next month's elections are going smoothly and that voters are registered.

Photo by:

TRACEY SHELTON

Tep Nytha, secretary general of the NEC, during a press conference last month.  

THE SECRETARY general of the National Election Committee said Thursday that preparations for next month's commune council elections were proceeding as planned, despite allegations from the Sam Rainsy Party that the Cambodian People's Party had been trying to persuade opposition commune councillors to vote for it.

Tep Nytha, the secretary general, said all 11,353 commune councillors had been officially registered to vote in the elections, which will see the councillors vote to determine the representation of their respective parties at the higher-level district councils and the municipal and provincial councils.

"We have finished the list of voters and the list of candidates from all political parties, and the process is going smoothly in advance of the campaign, which kicks off on May 2," Tep Nytha said.

But Yim Sovann, an SRP lawmaker and spokesman for the party, said there had been some irregularities with regard to the spelling of voters' names and also accused the CPP of "vote-buying" and intimidation.

"We have received information that the CPP has tried to persuade our council members by offering them positions in the government," he said.

He said the party would gather all of its commune councillors at a meeting on Sunday to "strengthen their political will" and discourage them from "selling their consciences" by voting for the CPP.

He said he expected the party to receive 20 to 30 percent of available seats in the Kingdom's district, provincial and municipal councils.

CPP denial

In a statement posted to its website on Tuesday, the CPP dismissed allegations that it had tried to persuade opposition lawmakers to vote for it and defended the effort of the NEC to run the elections smoothly and fairly.

"Some parties have continued to distort the NEC's responsible effort to organise the elections as well as the CPP's supremacy ... as they have done previously," the statement reads.

Cheam Yeap, a senior CPP lawmaker and member of the party's Central Committee, told the Post on Thursday that the party would hold a two-day conference over the weekend in an effort to shore up support among its commune councillors and articulate a political platform to gain more supporters.

"It is the right of the political parties to criticise, but the CPP does not have a policy of buying votes," he said.

Funcinpec and the Norodom Ranariddh Party will participate in the elections along with the CPP and the SRP.

The Committee for Free and Fair Elections in Cambodia released a report in February blasting the elections as meaningless, saying they will hold no interest for the general public. 

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