Newly elected councillors in Poipet commune, the main commune in Banteay Meanchey’s Poipet city, will officially take office today.
The CNRP won 18,733 votes in Poipet commune, to the CPP’s 9,194.
Across the city, the opposition took two of the three communes to the CPP’s one.
Commune chief Khon Sokhoeun claimed the CNRP won because of poor public services, corruption and injustice under the CPP regime, while his predecessor said he thought his party had picked the wrong candidate to replace him.
Mr Sokhoeun attributed his party’s victory to residents growing tired with corruption, while others had suffered in land disputes with powerful people.
He said he had come from a poor family and decided to join the CNRP in 2002 due to his admiration for leader Kem Sokha and former president Sam Rainsy.
“Most of our elected councillors are from low-income families and work as moto taxi drivers, second-hand clothes vendors and dessert sellers – we support the CNRP because it has proper policies,” he said.
“The CNRP won but it does not mean the party’s policies were the main reason,” Mr Sokhoeun said. “There was corruption in public services. That is what made people want to change their local leaders.”
Many villagers seemed afraid to discuss politics or local problems, he added.
Departing commune chief Ang Kiheng blamed poor decision-making by the CPP for its defeat.
He had been chief since 2015 and during his time in charge he and a working group had tried to reform the running of the council, serve people better and improve its public image, he said.
Mr Kiheng said he had tried to work honestly and from the heart but was puzzled as to why he had not been re-selected by the CPP.
“I was not named on the lists for standing in the commune election. This is one of other reasons that CPP lost election,” he said.