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Transparency the main winner

May Titthara / Khmer Times Share:
Despite the high voter turnout, Sunday’s election was orderly and passed without major incident, according to international observers. KT/Chor Sokunthea

Analysts say greater transparency should emerge as a result of changes heralded by this year’s commune elections.

Independent political analyst Meas Ny said the CNRP has won more commune seats than before, but could not say immediately if this would lead to improvements in local services.

“We have to wait and see when they come to work in their positions,” he said. “They have to work first.” 

He added that with the CNRP getting more seats in the communes, government officers’ work would be more transparent because both parties are competing closely for support. 

He said: “My thoughts are that from now on the provincial governors will have to manage their work effectively, otherwise there will be a greater effect on the CPP. 

“In the case of a CPP governor putting pressure on a CNRP commune chief, people in the commune who voted for the CNRP will react.

“For commune development, budgets have to get approval from the government and national assembly.”   

Sam Kuntheamy, executive director of the Neutral and Impartial Committee for Free and Fair Elections in Cambodia, said provincial governors could not put pressure on new CNRP commune chiefs because they worked awithin a system, having to go through district councillors, provincial councillors and then to the Ministry of Interior. 

“So the provincial governor can not make their work difficult,” he said. 

Adding to that, the new commune chiefs have to implement the policies their parties campaigned on.

“It’s good now because the Senate election will start next month, so the opposition party will get more seats because more commune members will vote for their party member in the Senate.” 

The opposition would gain positions of provincial councillors or district councillors from the votes of commune chiefs and commune members.

He said the mission of commune councils was to serve the common interests of citizens and act as the agent of the central government.

Specific functions were to maintain order, offer services for citizens’ health, well-being and contentment, to plan for economic and social development, and to ensure citizens have a quality standard of living.

He said: “The commune chief has to respond to the needs of the commune community.” 

CPP spokesman Sok Eysan told Voice of America radio the opposition party would have 487 commune chiefs working at the grassroots.

“Whoever comes from whatever political party works under the Ministry of Interior,” he said.

“We will not discriminate against a political party.”

The National Election Committee said preliminary results showed the CPP winning in 22 provinces. 

The CNRP won in Siem Reap and Kompong Cham provinces and in Phnom Penh. 

The CPP came top in 1,163 communes and the CNRP won 482. The Khmer National United Party won one commune.

More than 85 percent of the 7.8 million registered voters turned out in an election described by international observers as free and fair with no sign of intimidation, violence or coercion.

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