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Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Funcinpec members to jump ship over lack of govt positions

Funcinpec members to jump ship over lack of govt positions

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Half of Funcinpec is threatening to defect, saying they laid out cash while campaigning and expected government positions in return

Photo by: Heng Chivoan

Prince Norodom Ranriddh at a press conference last month.

DISGRUNTLED Funcinpec members are threatening to abandon their party for the Norodom Ranariddh Party because they were not given the positions in government that they expected, officials said Tuesday.

Ok Socheat, an advisor to the Funcinpec Party, told the Post that many officials who had not been appointed government positions were angry that they'd spent large amounts of money contesting the July 27 election but have no role in the coalition government to show for it.

"Before the election we heard that 300 officials would be appointed in government, but then the number was decreased to 61," he said, adding that up to 50 percent of the party's members had begun plotting their defection to other parties.

"It is normal for them to be  angry. They have spent a lot of money to seek votes. So when they are given no positions, some of them turned to Samdech Krompreah," Socheat said, referring to Norodom Ranariddh by his royal title.

"Some officials expected that they could persuade the Prince to re-lead Funcinpec."

He said that  out of multiple positions at the 26 ministries and two secretariats of state, Funcinpec officials have only been given one ministry, one secretary of state and one under secretary of state.

Fighting a losing battle

In terms of advisors to the government, only two Funcinpec officials, Tea Chamrath and Duong Khem, were appointed alongside four senior ministers and one deputy prime minister, he said.

Funcinpec's Secretary General and Deputy Prime Minister Nhiek Bun Chhay could not be reached for comment Tuesday.

Suth Dina, spokesman for the Norodom Ranariddh Party (NRP), told the Post  that regardless of Prince Ranariddh's recent decision to leave his self-titled party, many Funcinpec officials had been courting the NRP because they were disappointed with their positions.

It is normal for them to be angry. They have spent a lot of money to seek votes

"Just because the Prince has resigned as NRP president, it does not mean that he has resigned from politics," said Suth Dina.

Suth Dina also indicated that he thought some officials turned to the Prince because they hoped he would go on to lead Funcinpec.

But Lu Laysreng, first deputy president of Funcinpec, said that there was no basis to believe the Prince anymore.

"He used to say he would pump his royal blood into politics, but where is he now?" he asked.

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