October 16, 2017

CPP set to amend laws to take all of CNRP’s commune chief seats

Prime Minister Hun Sen and Interior Minister Sar Kheng, front row, raise their hands. Hong Menea

Mech Dara and Andrew Nachemson
The Phnom Penh Post,  Fri, 13 October 2017

Newly leaked proposed amendments to Cambodia’s election law reveal that the CPP would be eligible to take all 489 of the CNRP’s commune chief seats in the event of the opposition’s dissolution, leaving the ruling party in control of all but one of the country’s 1,646 communes.

The newly proposed Article 20 explains that if a political party abandons its seat, or is removed, the seats will be “distributed to candidates of other political parties that competed in the commune election within 14 days”.

The article contrasts with proposed amendment to the National Assembly Election Law – also recently leaked – which specifies that parties currently in parliament will not be eligible to take newly vacant seats. If the CNRP is indeed dissolved, its seats will be proportionally awarded to a handful of minor parties, rather than going to the CPP, as they would have been under the current law.

The Cambodia National Rescue Party – the country’s largest opposition and the only current legitimate competitor to the long-ruling Cambodian People’s Party – is under threat of dissolution following a formal complaint to the Supreme Court lodged by the Ministry of Interior. The party’s president, Kem Sokha, is currently in pretrial detention on widely decried charges of “treason” for saying he received political advice from the US.

Other recent changes to the country’s Law on Political Parties – rammed through parliament by the ruling party earlier this year – forbid parties from associating with “convicts” or colluding with foreign powers.

Though Sokha has yet to be convicted, and no evidence for his alleged treason has been presented apart from a publicly available 2013 video in which he made the remarks, Prime Minister Hun Sen promised on Wednesday that the party’s dissolution will happen “soon”.

The commune council and chief seats would be redistributed according to official vote tallies, minus all votes cast for the party abandoning or being removed from its seats. According to that formula, CPP would end up with 1,645 out of 1,646 commune chief positions. One commune in Banteay Meanchey is held by the minor Khmer National United Party – whose founder and former president, Nhek Bun Chhay, is currently awaiting trial on years-old drug charges.

Prime Minister Hun Sen registers his attendance before walking into a session at the National Assembly yesterday in Phnom Penh. Hong Menea

CPP spokesman Sok Eysan confirmed that the leaked draft was authentic, but despite the fact that the ruling party drafted the amendment itself, he denied that the CPP would take those seats.

“How can we say that we distribute the seat to this or that party? We need to wait until the National Assembly adopts [the law] first,” he said.

The proposed amendments yesterday were forwarded to the Legislative and Justice Committee of the National Assembly, where the CPP has all the votes it needs to pass the amendments intact.

Kim Sour Phirith, a CNRP lawmaker and member of the committee, boycotted the National Assembly session yesterday along with all of his opposition colleagues. “We’d go if we can prevent them from doing that, but they can do whatever they want. We’d be sitting, sharpening the knife for them to slit our throat,” Phirith said.

Noting the differences in the draft laws at the Assembly and commune levels, Sebastian Strangio, author of Hun Sen’s Cambodia, said that the National Assembly seats are “symbolic” and “abstract” in comparison to commune seats, which are the “bedrock” and “backbone” of the CPP’s true power.

“The commune level presence of the CNRP . . . represented a more significant challenge to the CPP’s power than the CNRP occupying some minority position in the National Assembly,” he said.

Strangio also noted that the pressure on the CNRP had been stepped up after their unprecedented success in the recent commune elections. “Ever since that result we’ve seen dramatic escalation,” Strangio said.

Explaining the government’s decision to give away the CNRP’s National Assembly seats while capturing its communes, Strangio said that the CPP occupying every single assembly seat would catch the attention of the international community in a way that its taking all but one commune won’t.

“National politics is what everyone looks at,” he said.

CPP lawmakers, seen on a monitor at the National Assembly, sit in the body’s half-empty chambers during a plenary session that was boycotted by the opposition CNRP yesterday amid an intensifying political crackdown. Hong Menea

Speaking from Berlin, where she fled following threats of arrest, opposition Deputy President Mu Sochua said the CPP “want to take back their base they lost to CNRP”. She added that while minor parties might prove compliant partners in the National Assembly, “these parties won’t help them keep grassroots control”.

Sochua spoke with other party leaders about the Supreme Court case over the party’s dissolution on Wednesday night, but declined to comment on the outcome.

Peng Heng, one of the lawyers working on Sokha’s treason case, said two of his colleagues on Wednesday also discussed the dissolution case with the imprisoned Sokha, who has continued to abstain from giving power of attorney to any lawyer to represent the CNRP.

“He considers it to be a political game. It’s not about the rule of law,” Heng said.Dr Paul Chambers, a lecturer at the College of Asean Community Studies at Naresuan University, said the CPP’s “parliamentary manipulation game” is all part of a plot to conquer the opposition.

“With the CNRP gone, the CPP has the chance to completely control the commune seats,” he said, adding that these local officials can help influence the crucial upcoming national election scheduled for next July. “They can help distribute CPP ‘pork barrel’ items to local voters while monitoring them for possible signs of dissent.”

He added that the passage of the laws is now inevitable. “In Cambodia today, proposed laws by the CPP might not yet de jure be law but de facto they are.”


Kim Ea said...

Illegal laws set up by illegal congress and force to use illegally in this nation is in double standard for Khmer to swallow . It is good for this mafia administration to glorify as a success ,but it is a sore eyes for international observers and disgusting and fearful for Khmer majority as a whole . This is a second Pol Pot draconian laws, adopt and utilize by new group of mafia traitor, push down this country in a form of heinous modern dictatorship .

KhmerBTB said...

Will see how legit it is having the election without the main opposition Party on the ballot and how many countries will recognize the new government

Hemondno Viata said...

His new ego politic strategy, Khmer people clearly aware of. The tricks is
always reoccurring over and over again, we, Kon Khmer have been foreseen such
a longtime where and how his politic ideology direction turned to, and how he
it would be achieved(...), as we have seen not a democratic solution, but dictatorial means. That meas the Khmer people, the nation will be once again in crises.

sam said...

This is about as bad and shameful as it gets.
And it is probably worse than losing a legit election but not willing to relinquish the power, since either ways they are robberies.

Narin Vong said...

The country cannot wait for CNRP. It's leaders brought upon themselves. They did nothing to help the country, but to oppose the progress and to cause trouble.

You foreigners don't even have a clue on my country in the past week. Did we ever have, among other things, home property show in the past decades?

Here we are, "Home  Property & Accommodation  Over $20 Million Of Property Sold At Cambodia Real Estate Show."

The Cambodia Real Estate Show 2, organised by realestate.com.kh, welcomed over 4,000 local and international visitors and investors through the Grand Ballroom doors of NagaWorld Hotel last Friday & Saturday. 

I was there and many others walking around and talking to many vendors about the new and modern homes.

We are here the real Khmere people, not those who live outside the country. Cambodia is making the progress without any of those who do nothing to help, but just want to criticize and blaim everyday.

Narin Vong said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Kohtral said...

Ah choy mray Narin Vong

Narin Vong said...

This is what they called you Khmere Rouge, uneducated and disrespectful. Cannot stay focus on the view point and have nothing to offer, how can we allow this type of person to run our country, tell me?

Come to Cambodia to see how we have advanced our lives. One day you will step foot here. Please have an open minded.

You can live in the US, but you sound like the Khmere Rouge solder only knows how to kill us when we refused to work on the field. Go to school and be productive in the society. To just calling name when you are angry cannot solve any problems.

henry said...

Narin Vong is a yuon pest, now he feels bad about being hunted down by the pesticide.

Narin Vong said...

Here is another Khmere Rouge solder living outside the country. Finally you have to reveal yourself to the public.

I know, one day you all will come back here. Khmere Rouge era is over, why you keep holding a gun on my head. Come to your homeland and educate us with a civil attitude. Teach our kids to grow up with the real education.

Show us the new idea, not this rotten personal attack mentality. Grow up!

henry said...

Narin Vong, you are a yuon pest what do expect to be treated, since reasoning with you is a waste of time?
If you are an adult, ask yourself this ONE simple question:
“Why so many people here don’t like me?”
You have to look for your faults first before pointing your finger at others, ok SOB!

Narin Vong said...

Let me warn you the last time. Rainsy and Sokha are in jail because they kept using the word "yuon," and you could be next. When you have made a terrorist threat or intended to cause a bodily harm, which you just did, the law will catch up on you.

Do you know that what you write on the Internet, it will be the public information and it will stay on forever.

I will report to the FBI at your city or I will go to the FBI office here at the US Embassy. I will show them your comments with the personal threat. Soon the FBI will show up at your front door.

Remember, we are graduated from the University, and we know how to file a formal complaint to the authority. You don't want your kids to grow up while the parents are in jail, do you.

Stay on point and respect others when you want to express your opinion. We are Cambodians and we live in our own country.
Final warning, don't do it again.

henry said...

Now Narin Vong, the little “YUON” pest is sobbing to the FBI for help.
Since when do they need a graduated from the University to file a formal complaint to the authority?
The more you talk more stupid you sound, why don’t you just shut up and stop making a fool of yourself, idiot!

Narin Vong said...

Ok, I will make a formal complaint to authorities both here and where you live. Will see what they have to say.

henry said...

Ok, coward yuon pest Narin Vong!
Do make your formal complaint to the authorities and shut the F up!!!

Hemondno Viata said...

Narin Wong real name could be(!.!) a Cambodian Norwegian journalist who's has been survival from Suicide attempted in the past, then he's now well be back in Cambodia left his family behind to supporting his boss face down as always. Some Khmer people stronger supporting Mr Hun Sen more than yuon national.
Think about it!?!?.

KhmerBTB said...

Ah kwak will do anything to stay in power. He stole the votes in 2013 now he plans to rob the commune seats all over the country .

Bong Song said...


We don't care about real estate.

Khmer want justice, we want Hun Sen Out. We want communist vietcong OUT.

We want Narin, OUT too.

Bong Song said...

Khmer rouge era is over. BUT vietcong should be over too.

Thanks to the vietcong, we got Pol Pot # 2 Hun SEn.

Hope one day China will teach the vietcong another lesson.