Opposition spokesman Yim Sovann said yesterday that if any of the CNRP’s more than 400 new commune chiefs who won office on Sunday cannot follow through on the party’s campaign pledges, they will “give up” their positions.
Sovann said the Cambodia National Rescue Party had made five pledges that must be implemented: to improve local health care, reduce drug use, improve public security, provide commune-level public services without corruption and – most ambitiously – to give each commune $500,000 a year for development.
The party’s expected 480-odd new commune chiefs would be absolved from implementing that final pledge, however, with the CNRP hoping to win the 2018 national election so it can enact the policy, which would cost $823 million a year – about 16 percent of the national budget.
“We have already decided if we are elected in 2018 and we cannot do this, then the leaders of the Cambodia National Rescue Party will resign from their positions,” Sovann said, explaining the commune chiefs would, until that time, be held to the same standards.
Any commune chiefs who fail to live up to the other pledges “must dare to give up” their roles, he said, though he would not say if resignations would be forced.
“What we promised, we must do – except for the fifth point, which is related to national decision-making,” he said. “The other four points must be enforced.”
The CNRP’s 55 lawmakers would also try to persuade the Cambodian People’s Party’s 68 lawmakers to adopt the $500,000 funding policy by cutting ministry budgets by 20 percent, Sovann said.
CPP spokesman Suos Yara declined to comment on Sovann’s comments yesterday, explaining that he had nothing to say until the official results of Sunday’s elections were finalised, which is slated to happen no later than June 25.
“He likes to speak too early – he acts like a demagogue like this. It’s not good,” Yara said. “So, whatever he raises, go on ahead. Don’t care.”
Sar Neang, unofficially the CNRP’s new commune chief-elect in Khmuonh commune, in Phnom Penh’s Sen Sok district, said there simply was no way he would not implement the pledges.
“We must act according to the political platform,” said Neang, who served out the last term as Khmuonh’s deputy chief. “I do not promise – I must do it.”