Out of a job before they got started

Mom Sophon / Khmer Times No Comments Share:
Sin Chanpeourozet. Supplied

In June, 32-year-old CNRP candidate Sin Chanpeourozet was elected to lead O’Char commune in the heart of Battambang province.

Months later, she is out of a job following the dissolution of her party by the Supreme Court last week.

The former commune chief said she regretted not having the chance to fully serve local people, since her commune development plan had not yet been implemented.

Ms Chanpeourozet said the work she did carry out to improve the commune’s drainage system was continued from her predecessor.

She said she and the other new commune councillors in the area had sought public opinion on development projects and were requesting budget cash to carry these out.

Those proposals were yet to be put to City Hall.

“I asked local people directly about what they wanted to be developed and the problems they were facing. We were making a national budget request for commune development to be completed for 2018. But now our party has been dissolved,” Ms Chanpeourozet said.

She said she had only been in the commune chief role officially for three months, but had raised charitable donations from local and international donors to repair some roads and drainage in the village.

Following the dissolution of the CNRP last week, 55 lawmakers from the opposition party were deleted from parliament, while 5,007 elected commune members and nearly 500 commune chiefs across the country lost their jobs.

Ms Chanpeourozet said she was still dedicated to helping people in the community even though she was no longer a commune chief.

Locals who appreciated Ms Chanpeourozet’s honest and transparent work are also lamenting the loss of their leader.

A resident of Ang village in O’Char commune, who asked not to be named, said Ms Chanpeourozet had served residents better than any of her predecessors.

“She worked actively and efficiently without thinking about her own time,” he said. “Whenever people needed her, she always tried to help them. It is not only me that regrets she has lost her job, many others feel the same, but there is nothing we can say or do to help.”

After only three months in the job, new CNRP commune chiefs and councillors across the country had little time to implement their plans.

The CNRP’s Chen Sokngeng defeated long-time CPP commune chief San Lan in Siem Reap’s Sala Kamroeuk commune earlier this year.

Mr Sokngeng, 26, was one of the youngest candidates in the commune elections.

Chea Sros, a resident of the commune, said it seemed like the CNRP leader had achieved very little in his short tenure.

Mr Sros said he thought the young commune chief might have been impeded by political differences at district and provincial levels.

Yoeurng Sotheara, law and monitoring officer at the Committee for Free and Fair Elections in Cambodia, said the organisation was yet to assess the effectiveness of commune chiefs elected this year.

“Anecdotally, the performance of commune chiefs from both parties in this fourth mandate seemed to be more competitive than previous mandates,” he said.

“I think that was because the opposition party had more seats than in the previous mandates, so the competition made commune chiefs from both parties become more efficient.”

Mr Sotheara said it was a shame the CNRP had lost its right to serve the people after winning more votes than ever before.

“It is interesting that when there is a strong competition between parties, the public benefits,” he said.

“I think the provision of public services could become more ineffective with the loss of the opposition. The parties that replace the opposition are unlikely to strongly challenge the ruling party for the benefit of the people.”

Interior Ministry spokesman Khieu Sopheak said the NEC is yet to announce who will replace the CNRP’s commune chiefs and councillors, however local CPP leaders will handle administration in the meantime.

He added that opposition commune chiefs who defect to the CPP can continue their work as usual.

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