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Monday, May 28, 2012

The Cambodian commune elections has allegedly been marred by reports of bribery. Mr K alleges that 5 members of his family, in the Kaoh Chen commune, were paid by candidates from the ruling Cambodia Peoples Party to vote for them.

A placard of the Cambodian Peoples Party. The Cambodian People's Party is the current ruling party of Cambodia. Previous elections have also been marred by corruption.

The Cambodian commune elections in 2012 select officials at the grassroots level to represent their community. The elections to be held on the 3rd June 2012 have been marred by reports of bribery by officials from the ruling Cambodia Peoples Party (CPP).

 Mr K who wishes to remain anonymous alleges that 5 members of his family in the Kaoh Chen commune - Preak Chik village, Kandal Province - were paid $2.5 each by a Mr R Lon who is a member of the CPP. "I have already spent the money,"Mr. K tells me when I ask him for evidence of the vote buying. "I cannot take you to speak with Mr. Lon as this will be dangerous for my family," he continues. "Now we have taken the money we have to vote for the CPP because they can check who we have voted for," and he does appear to genuinely believe that the CPP can do that. "Why did you take the money to vote if you believe that it's wrong?" I ask: "If we dont take they know we vote for another Party," was his cynical response. .

The Phnom Penh post reports today that the Prime Mininster Mr. Hun Sen and CPP vice-president has written a directive to ensure that all aspects of the democratic election process are fair: “Military police, national police and all levels of local authorities have to inform and educate the lower levels, villagers and foreigners in their community to suspend their selling and drinking of alcohol in order to make for good electoral process with freedom, justice and without violence.”

The CPP face a difficult electorate in Phnom Penh at the moment. Issues such as the alleged illegal land grab of prime development land at the Boeung Kak lake site by CPP government senator Lao Meng Khin, and the rapid imprisonment of 13 women protestors last week for the (ongoing) protests against the loss of their homes, may surface in the ballot box on 3rd June.

Tags 2012, ASEAN, Boeung Kak lake site, bribery, cambodia, Cambodia Peoples Party, Cambodian, commune elections, corrupt, corruption, CPP, CPP government senator, Democracy, Democratic, drinking alcohol ban, election, electoral process, free and fair, government, Government, Hun Sen, jailed protestors, june 3rd, Kandal Province, Kaoh Chen commune, land grab, Lao Meng Khin, phnom penh, south east asia, vote buying, Voting, Parliament, Election, Party Politics, Human Rights, Politics . Read more!

Cambodia, Thailand Agree on Troop Pullout from Disputed Border

Cambodian Defense Minister Tea Banh and his Thai counterpart Sukumpol Suwanatat agreed on Monday to urge the two countries' Joint Working Group (JWG) to speed up their talks towards troop withdrawal from the disputed border area surrounding the 11th century Preah Vihear temple.

"We agreed to have the JWG convene the 2nd meeting in Phnom Penh next month to continue discussion about the troop withdrawal," Tea Banh told reporters after the meeting. "We stressed our commitment to comply with the order of the International Court of Justice (ICJ) as soon as possible."

 Speaking to reporters through an interpreter, Sukumpol Suwanatat said that he hoped that the JWG would be able to conclude their talks towards the pullout in the next month's meeting.

"Thailand also wants to speed up the process towards the troop pullout because Thailand thinks that the slow process towards the pullout is not good for Thailand," he said, adding the major obstacle for the issue was landmines in the area.

Cambodia and Thailand established the JWG in last December to work for the complete and simultaneous redeployment of the two countries' military personnel from the Provisional Demilitarized Zone (PDZ) surrounding Preah Vihear temple in order to comply with the ICJ's order.

The 1st JWG meeting was held in early April in Bangkok, Thailand.

Cambodia and Thailand have had sporadic border conflict over territorial dispute near Cambodia's Preah Vihear temple since the UNESCO listed the temple as a World Heritage Site on July 7, 2008 and witnessed fierce clashes in February and April 2011 during Thailand's Democrat Party rule.

On April 28, 2011, Cambodia submitted a request to the ICJ for interpretation of its judgment on June 15, 1962 in the case concerning the ancient temple.

It was accompanied by an urgent request for provisional measures in which Cambodia demands Thailand immediately and unconditionally withdraw troops from area surrounding the ruined temple.

During the interval of waiting for the verdict interpretation, the ICJ ordered Cambodia and Thailand on July 18, 2011 to immediately withdraw their military personnel from the PDZ and allow ASEAN observers (Indonesians) to access to the zone to monitor ceasefire.

 However, to date, neither Cambodia nor Thailand has withdrawn its troops from the 17.3 square kilometer PDZ.

Sukumpol Suwanatat arrived here on Monday morning to join the 6th ASEAN Defense Ministers Meeting, which is scheduled on May 28- 30. Read more!

Cambodian, Chinese defense ministers ink military cooperation pact

PHNOM PENH, May 28 (Xinhua) -- Cambodian Deputy Prime Minister and Defense Minister Tea Banh and Chinese Defense Minister Liang Guanglie on Monday signed a military cooperation agreement in Phnom Penh.

Under the deal, signed after a one-hour meeting between the two ministers, China will continue receiving Cambodian military personnel for training in China, Tea Banh told reporters after the signing ceremony at Cambodia's defense ministry.

Tea Banh said Liang's visit would strengthen and expand friendship and traditional relations and cooperation between Cambodia and China in all fields, especially the military sector.

 "Cambodia and China have close and invaluable cooperation," he said. "Chinese assistance is greatly contributing to building Cambodian army's capacity in national defense."

 During the meeting, Tea Banh reiterated Cambodia's stance to support the "one-China" policy forever and the two ministers also pledged to support each other on the international arena.

 Liang said that China saw Cambodia as a close and honest friend and China would continue supporting Cambodia in military capacity building, military training schools and hospitals.

 Liang arrived here on Sunday for a four-day official visit. Besides meeting with Tea Banh, he is scheduled to pay a courtesy call on Prime Minister Hun Sen and to visit the Angkor Archeological Park, one of the world heritage sites, in Siem Reap province.

 According to Tea Banh, Liang will also hold a 30-minute consultative meeting with ASEAN defense ministers on Tuesday evening in a bid to build closer cooperation between China and southeast Asian countries and to explain China's stance on the South China Sea issue. Read more!