Archive for July 17th, 2007

Monday, 16.7.2007: Mr. Pen Sovann Announces Leading Members to Join Human Rights Party; Critics: If He Has More Than 70,000 Supporters He Should Stand as Candidate for His Own Party

Posted on 17 July 2007. Filed under: Week 517 |

The Mirror, Vol. 11, No. 517

“Phnom Penh: Mr. Pen Sovann, the president of the Cambodian National Sustaining Party who is known as a Khmer Issarak during the time of the anti-French movement, and a dignitary after 1979 for a short period, now announced that he decided to join the Human Rights Party of Mr. Kem Sokha, because he finds that the policy of Mr. Kem Sokha’s party is appropriate to what the citizens want regarding the human rights issue. He also affirmed that he will lead more than 70,000 members to join the Human Rights Party. However, critics mocked that if Mr. Pen Sovann has up to more than 70,000 members, it is not necessary for him to join with someone’s party, he should rather stand as a candidate for election for his own party, because due to this number of supporters, he may get one or two seats in parliament.

“It is noticed that after the creation of the Cambodian National Sustaining Party, he tended towards Funcinpec and then towards the Sam Rainsy Party, in providing suggestions to the two parties. However, when Mr. Kem Sokha created the Human Rights Party, Pen Sovann turned to join Mr. Kem Sokha.

Mr. Keo Remy, the temporary vice-president of the Human Rights Party, told Koh Santepheap on Sunday that Mr. Pen Sovann decided recently to join the Human Rights Party. However, he added that a position and a role for Mr. Pen Sovann have not yet been announced.

“Mr. Kem Sokha, the temporary president of the Human Rights Party, told Koh Santepheap by phone on Sunday that Mr. Pen Sovann decided to join the Human Rights Party on Sunday. He continued that, however, the party has not yet prepared a role or position for him.

“Mr. Pen Sovann said, ‘I have known Mr. Kem Sokha for a long time, but now he created the Human Rights Party, a party with a nature for which our citizens have hoped for a long time.’ He went on to say that the policy of the party makes him satisfied, therefore he decided to join Mr. Kem Sokha and he will not change his decision in any way.” Koh Santepheap, Vol.40, #6092, 16.7.2007

Newspapers Appearing on the Newsstand:
Monday, 16 July 2007

Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.6, #1392, 15-16.7.2007

  • Cambodia Asks Vietnam to Help with Construction of Sesan 1 and Sesan 2 Hydroelectric Plants
  • Delegation of Japanese Businesspeople Will Help [Cambodian] Government with Improvement of Investment Atmosphere
  • [16-year-old] Girl Raped, Killed, and Her Body Left Nude [by unknown person – Kep]
  • Man, Who Raped His 16-Year-Old Daughter, Affirms that His Wife Sat Watching Him Raping [he is arrested – Kien Svay, Kandal]
  • Floods Kill 280 People in Pakistan

Koh Santepheap, Vol.40, #6092, 16.7.2007

  • Mr. Pen Sovann [Prime Minister in 1981] Announces Leading Members to Join Human Rights Party; Critics: If He Has More Than 70,000 Supporters He Should Stand as Candidate for His Own Party
  • Dengue Fever Is Still Dangerous; In Six Months of 2007, 14,827 Persons Caught Dengue Fever, 182 Persons Died [countrywide]
  • Volunteer Student Club of Cambodia Publicizes Instruction against Dengue Fever [Takeo]
  • 29% of Cars Which Have Accidents Are Right-Hand-Drive Cars; Accidents Increased in Phnom Penh in May
  • Digging of Canal Finds B-52 Bomb Five Meters Deep in Ground, Worrying [Koh Khael] Commune Authority [S’ang, Kandal]

Moneaksekar Khmer, Vol.14, #3211, 16.7.2007

  • Gift Packages of Tens of Thousands of Dollars Provided by Vietnamese President Nguyen Minh Triet [during his visit to Cambodia] to Yuon [Vietnamese] Communities Along Tonle Sap River

Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.15, #4337, 15-16.7.2007

  • Sam Rainsy: Krom Preah [Norodom Ranariddh] Should Quit Politics Like Some Royal Family Members Did
  • Germany and Canada Still Continue to Support Cambodia
  • AUSAID Provides $60,000 [Australian dollars or US dollars not clarified] for Destruction of Chemicals Usable for Drug Production in Kompong Speu
  • National Election Committee Announces Preparation to Clean Voter Lists
  • Brick Kilns in Angkor Thom District Are Sites That Seriously Destroy Trees [Siem Reap]
  • Jealous Man Slashes His Wife Twice with Ax to Death [he is arrested – Kompong Trabaek, Svay Rieng]
  • US Increases Reward for bin Laden’s Head to $50 Million

Sralanh Khmer, Vol.3, #453, 15-16.7.2007

  • Committee for Free and Fair Elections Interested in More Than 4 Million Khmer Youth Who Have Rights to Vote [but a number of them may meet many obstacles and fail to vote]
  • Ministry of Justice Publishes Information about Enforcement of Procedural Code [that it will enforce from 13 July for Phnom Penh, and from 27 July for provinces and towns countrywide – the code defines the procedures of courts and judicial authorities, which will promote the quality of the courts in Cambodia, and help to save face as they are being criticized frequently]

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Sunday,2007-07-15: Movements in and among Political Parties

Posted on 17 July 2007. Filed under: *Editorial*, Week 516 |

The Mirror, Vol. 11, No. 516

The week under consideration provided ample proof that there is some movement in the landscape of political parties in the country.After having had more that 30 parties participating in the national elections in 1993, and more than 20 in 1998, during the commune council elections of 2007 the number was down to 12. All these elections proved that only the big parties – the Cambodian People’s Party, Funcinpec, the Sam Rainsy Party – were able to actively participate on the legislative level in response to the votes of the people. All the efforts of other parties during several of the last elections were left with less than one percent of votes received.

Some observer praised the high number of parties participating in the elections as a sign of the development of democracy in Cambodia; others saw the reality of the many parties as a result of an unrealistic self-esteem of the isolated individuals who had created these parties, and who were not prepared to enter the difficult negotiations of finding common ground in cooperation.

The creation of the Human Rights Party – a party with its fundamental program orientation in its name – has introduced a new element into the landscape of parties in Cambodia, because the announcement of its creation was accompanied by a detailed, transparent description about internal procedures with separate responsibilities for – first – internal decision making, – second – leadership with time-limited mandates, and – third – a body monitoring the implementation of internal rules. This structure somewhat reflects the separation of the three powers of the legislative, executive, and judicial powers of many states.

While this new party is also the result of the efforts of its present leader, the statutes and regulations of this party make it clear from the beginning that the leadership on different levels can be changed by decisions of the party members for which procedures have been made public, even without any critical moves from within the party membership, the top leadership will change automatically when their set terms end. This is quite a contrast to structures and dynamics of some other parties, as the public could monitor the different moves within Funcinpec, leading to the creation of the Norodom Ranariddh Party – the second party in the country which therefore is tied, by name, to the person of its leader, and the majority party which has the same leadership since many years.

There were several reports about movements in or between the different parties, from different sources:

Joining or leaving the Sam Rainsy party:

  • Hor Sopheap and Khieu Dara Leave Funcinpec and Join Sam Rainsy Party [again]
  • Five Sam Rainsy Party Parliamentarians [names not mentioned] Prepare to Leave Sam Rainsy Party [because they are disappointed for not being able to be priority parliamentary candidates]
  • Sam Rainsy Party and Human Rights Party Exchange Politicians with Each Other, Making People Get Bored

From the Norodom Ranariddh Party to Funcinpec:

  • Ok Socheat and Serey Kosal Officially Announce Defection from Norodom Ranariddh Party
  • Ok Socheat and Serey Kosal [advisors to Prince Ranariddh] Officially Join Funcinpec

Discussions – or not – relating to Funcinpec and its leadership:

  • Funcinpec Agrees to Allow Samdech Krom Preah to Returns to Be the President
  • Samdech Krom Preah Gives Green Light Again for Meeting between Officials of Norodom Ranariddh Party and Funcinpec
  • Nhek Bun Chhay [Funcinpec Secretary-General] Accepts Samdech Krom Preah [Norodom Ranariddh] as President Again at Hun Sen’s Order
  • Funcinpec Wants Krom Preah [Norodom Ranariddh] to Meet with Keo Puth Rasmey [Funcinpec president] for Discussion
  • Samdech Krom Preah Orders Closure of the Negotiations [with Funcinpec] Starting from This Hour
  • New Scenario [an offer decided by Funcinpec standing committee]: Samdech Krom Preah Will Be President of Funcinpec, Keo Puth Rasmey Will Be President of Standing Committee, and Nhek Bun Chhay Will Be Funcinpec Secretary-General

Members of the Sangkum Jatiniyum Front Party moving into different directions:

  • Norodom Ranariddh Party Appoints 27 Officials from Sangkum Jatiniyum Front Party [as deputy secretary-generals, steering committee members, etc.]
  • This Morning, Prince Thomico and More Than 20 Subordinates Announce Joining Funcinpec Officially
  • Thomico: Doing Politics Like Samdech Krom Preah [Norodom Ranariddh] Does, Monarchy Will Dissolve in 2008

And finally some old style rumors:

  • Did Cambodian People’s Party Give Money to Kem Sokha to Create Party? [rumor says Kem Sokha is supported by Prime Minister Hun Sen]
  • Kem Sokha Starts Attacking Sam Rainsy in Order to Compete for People [hinting that he may reveal SRP scandals]

As this weekly comment is unfortunately delayed – because of my travel – it allows also a reference to the text translated for Monday, 16 July 2007: “Mr. Pen Sovann Announces Leading Members to Join Human Rights Party; Critics: If He Has More Than 70,000 Supporters He Should Stand as Candidate for His Own Party.” This event is interesting in three respects:

  1. Mr. Pen Sovann announced to join another party based on principles: the new party is “a party with a nature for which our citizens have hoped for a long time.”
  2. He joins another party without having first a role or position secured for himself as a person.
  3. He does not try to continue to build a future independent role for his 70,000 supporters, but rather wants to give up a separate role and join in a broader political cooperation.

The future will show how this new approach works, and whether or not others may also take similar decisions.

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