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HRP Blasts Passage of ‘Organic’ Law

The Human Rights Party on Friday condemned the passage of a law that will pave the way for commune council voting at district, provincial and municipal levels.

The so-called “organic law,” passed by the National Assembly earlier this month, provides a means by which commune council members vote for councils of provinces, municipalities, and districts.

The Human Rights Party said the law will favor parties already in government: the ruling Cambodian People’s Party, its coalition partner, Funincpec, and the opposition Sam Rainsy Party.

“The Human Rights Party has a policy to promote a proportional system of election, to open an opportunity for young intellectuals using their knowledge, capacity and popularity to be responsible for people over parties,” said Keo Remy, HRP vice president.

SRP Secretary-General Eng Chhay Ieng said that while his party has seats in commune councils across the country, which will have a say under the new law, Funcinpec does not, and so the coalition party’s support of the law was “confusing.”

But Funcinpec lawmaker Khieu Sorn said his party would have to work harder to gain seats in the next round of commune elections.

Not all Funcinpec parliamentarians voted for the law, he added.

Newly established parties will face difficulties in administrative representation under the new law, said CPP lawmaker Chiem Yeap, “but we must respect it.”

“This organic law serves Cambodia’s general interest, but does not serve the party interest,” he said. “This organic law is important for the whole nation, particularly from low- to high-level and from the king to ordinary people.”

In its years of reconstruction, Cambodia has never held an election for provincial, municipal or district councils. They have in the past been appointed positions.