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Cablegate: Mu Sochua On Srp Concerns: Voter Registration,

VZCZCXRO3091
PP RUEHCHI RUEHDT RUEHHM RUEHNH
DE RUEHPF #0853 1731133
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
P 221133Z JUN 07
FM AMEMBASSY PHNOM PENH
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 8606
INFO RUCNASE/ASEAN MEMBER COLLECTIVE PRIORITY

UNCLAS PHNOM PENH 000853

SIPDIS

SENSITIVE
SIPDIS

STATE FOR EAP/MLS

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PGOV KDEM CB
SUBJECT: MU SOCHUA ON SRP CONCERNS: VOTER REGISTRATION,
ANTI-CORRUPTION LAW, MEMORIAL STUPA

REF: A. (A) PHNOM PENH 778
B. (B) PHNOM PENH 765

1. (SBU) Sam Rainsy Party (SRP) Secretary General Mu Sochua
met with the Ambassador on June 22 to revisit the ongoing
problem of voter registration obstructions in preparation for
the 2008 national elections. Mu Sochua detailed National
Election Committee (NEC) unresponsiveness to SRP's concerns
that the voter registration process systematically favors the
ruling party (ref A). SRP proposed a possible solution to
the NEC: instead of allowing the politically-aligned and
locally influential village and commune chiefs to register
voters, assign agents from each of the political parties to
form voter registration teams that go door to door. The SRP
is also pushing the NEC and the Ministry of Interior (MOI) to
de-politicize the voter identification system by disposing of
the "Form 10/18" as a means of voter i.d. Commune-level
authorities are mandated to issue the form 10/18 to villagers
who have not had the opportunity to apply for and/or receive
their official, MOI-issued national identification cards.
SRP claims that the majority CPP commune-level authorities
prevent non-CPP villagers from obtaining their due form
10/18. They also claim that, during the April 1 commune
council elections, commune chiefs and clerks issued 10/18
forms to individuals who were not on their commune's voter
list thereby fraudulently allowing additional voters in their
communes. The Ambassador will discuss the issue of voter
registration with Minister of Interior Sar Kheng.

2. (SBU) Mu Sochua and the Ambassador discussed mutual
frustration over the anti-corruption law still languishing
with the Council of Ministers. The Ambassador reassured Mu
Sochua that he has raised, and will continue to raise, the
issue with Deputy Prime Minister Sok An. However, in past
discussions, Sok An has insisted that Cambodia's penal code
be passed first and then the RGC can move forward with the
anti-corruption law. Mu Sochua delivered to the Ambassador a
copy of the SRP statement to the June 19-20 Cambodia
Development Cooperation Forum (formerly the Government-Donor
Coordination Committee meeting). In addition to points on
the anti-corruption law, the statement recommends the RGC and
donors focus on the following: deforestation, land issues and
evictions, judiciary reforms, independence of the NEC, and a
law to manage future oil revenue.

3. (SBU) Mu Sochua communicated the SRP's strong intent to
save the memorial stupa commemorating a 1997 grenade attack
on an SRP rally (ref B). When the Ambassador stated his
concern over the possibility of the stupa being removed
secretly in the middle of the night, Mu Sochua responded

SIPDIS
adamantly that this would result in an ugly fight. She said
the party would mobilize supporters, bringing SRP villagers
and workers to Phnom Penh to object to the stupa's removal.
She rejected the Phnom Penh Governor's argument that
Buddhists do not traditionally build monuments to the dead in
public places stating the stupa is not just a symbol but a
place believers regard as a home for souls of those who lost
their lives at the location. The Ambassador expressed his
support for the stupa staying put. Unfortunately, his
letters to the Phnom Penh Governor, MOI and MFA have not yet
produced a favorable response. The Ambassador intends to now
raise the matter with Prime Minister Hun Sen when they meet
on Monday, June 25 with the message that removing the
memorial stupa would make Cambodia look bad in the eyes of
the international community.
MUSSOMELI

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