Opposition party and Cambodia Center for Human Rights (CCHR) officials accuse Takeo province's officials from Prime Minister Hun Sen's Cambodian People's Party (CPP) of forcing people to join this party, saying it is illegal.
This accusation is made prior to the upcoming second communal election scheduled to be held in April 2007, believed to be important, second only to the national election.
In this election, the grassroot communal council members are chosen. Takeo province supportive Sam Rainsy party (SRP) working group chief, Mao Sophal told VOA that the village chief forced the local people to have their fingerprints on their party's membership papers, meaning the ruling party Cambodian People's party (CPP). He says that the chief told his villagers that they will risk not having water for the dry season farming if they refuse. The CPP membership cites loyalty, and sufferings in case of treason.
Cambodia Center for Human Rights (CCHR) investigation officer, Chhim Savuth calls the practice illegal, saying that some villagers agreed to fingerprint the documents, while others refused. He says that there was not any concrete or serious coercion, but only that the people should have their fingerprints on the membership lists, if not they will not have water for their dry season farming.
This kind of aspect looks like a coercion.