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Parties asked to adopt TI anti-graft platform

Parties asked to adopt TI anti-graft platform

Transperancy International Cambodia (TIC) yesterday launched an anti-corruption policy platform it hopes that political parties will adopt ahead of commune and national elections slated for the next two years.

Policy suggestions in the platform include widening the scope of the proposed Access to Information Law to all ministers, officials and public enterprises; public declaration of party finances and a politically independent process for the appointment of the Anti-Corruption Unit leadership.

TIC executive director Preap Kol said corruption was a high priority for voters, especially the younger electorate, and the group was attempting to push parties to address these long-standing issues.

“I believe that any contesting political party will have to talk about corruption and how to stamp it out if they wish to appeal to the majority of the voters,” he said.

“People are smart and it is not enough to only talk about corruption.”

Kol said the next step was to send the platform to all parties and, after getting their responses, make them public.

Cambodian People’s Party spokesman Sok Eysan said the party already has a political platform and dismissed TIC’s recommendations, suggesting that the group should instead form its own “anti-corruption party”.

“If they [TIC] are sure that their [proposed] political platform is good, they should form a party and compete,” Eysan said. “When they win, they can implement it.”

However, CNRP spokesman Yim Sovann welcomed the platform, saying that while his party had similar policies, they “don’t have enough power to implement them”.

“We have no objection with it, because we have not done anything wrong. We do not commit corruption and we are not afraid,” he said.

On making party finances public, Sovann said the party continued to submit its income to the Interior Ministry, which, he said, was never made public, except in the instance of their television station.

Ahead of the 2013 elections, the NGO Working Group on Political Finance attempted to push through a campaign finance law that would cap election spending.

Election watchdog Comfrel’s executive director Koul Panha, who was part of the group, said the proposal met with little success, as parties were reluctant to submit reports on their political spending, especially the ruling CPP.

“We also advocated for a law on political financing and it was not adopted,” Panha added.

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