Several political parties have announced that they will not accept commune level positions vacated by former opposition CNRP officials after the party’s disbandment.
After the Supreme Court announced the dissolution of the CNRP on November 16, there are 11 parties entitled to accept the division of 5,707 seats from the opposition party country-wide.
Some political parties issued statements refusing to accept the seats, claiming it would not represent the voices of voters.
The League for Democracy Party and Grassroots Democracy Party informed the National Election Committee that they would not accept seats. The Khmer Power Party also rejected the seats.
“We think that the division of the seats by the NEC does not reflect the real will of the people who voted to elect their representatives,” said KPP party president Suong Sophorn.
“I think that it’s not appropriate as a politician to take the seats of other politicians.”
“We cannot accept the seats because we want to show a willingness to serve citizens,” he added.
“We don’t want to show that we are just opportunistic politicians or politicians that seek individual benefits.”
The Beehive Social Democratic Party, which got one seat as the second deputy chief in the June ballot, was also unlikely to accept the opposition’s seats.
BSDP president Houn Pannary said she would hold a meeting with her board of directors today to decide officially, but noted it was unlikely the party would accept seats.
In contrast, Cambodia Youth Party president Pich Sros, whose party only fielded candidates in Tboung Khmum province, said his party would accept any seats awarded.
“We will accept to serve the people, not only people who support us, but for the people from all parties,” he said. “We are not stealing the seats because they are being divided according to the law.”
Democratic Republic Party spokesman Ron Kimsreng also said his party would accept seats, but declined to comment further.
Yoeurng Sotheara, Comfrel’s law and monitoring officer, said that it was up to each party to decide whether or not to accept the seats, and noted that those rejecting the seats likely felt the country was becoming a one-party state.
“When there is a party leading alone, the leaders will not pay attention because there is no competition,” he said. “This is a citizen’s concern, a party’s concern, but there is no way to change it because this is what the law says must be done.”
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