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Alleged CPP Supporters Disrupt Swearing-In Ceremony of SRP Village Chiefs

Human Rights and Sam Rainsy party (SRP) officials claim authorities and dozens of villagers Monday disrupted the swearing in ceremony for four SRP village chiefs in Poipet, Banteay Meanchey.

The people who disrupted the ceremony organized by the SRP Poipot commune councilmen, are believed to be supporters of the ruling party namely the Cambodian People's Party.

Despite the disruption, the ceremony was held successfully. Mr. Sam Rainsy who participated in the ceremony, says this action is a common threat in Cambodia, and that the leadership should not interfere.

The opposition party president says what his party does is legal. He said he urged the elected commune village chiefs to serve the people, be bi-partisan and not to discriminate anyone.

Among the eleven village chiefs who were elected in the recent local election, 4 are from the opposition party.

The 4 SRP village chiefs are not officially recognized as the winners. They were accused of being outsiders who do not live in the village.

A day before the swear-in ceremony, Banteay Mean Chey authorities told the Poipet commune hall to delay the ceremony and wait for a decision from the Ministry of the Interior.

Banteay Mean Chey's provincial governor, Mr. On Sum denies the charges about the threats and the alleged disruption. He says that the Ministry of Interior has not given the green lights to have an election in the four villages.

Investigator from the Cambodia Center for Human Rights (CCHR) in Banteay Meanchey, Peng Sok Seng acknowledges there were some disruption.

The Ministry of Interior spokesman, Mr. Khieu Sopheak cannot be reached for comment.