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Funcinpec shakes up leaders ahead of 2013

Funcinpec has removed its secretary-general and is shaking up the way its committee is structured, in a game plan that party leaders say will position them to win more seats at the national election in 2013.

Nhek Bun Chhay, executive president of Funcinpec, told the Post yesterday the party had decided to reduce its 18-member committee to 11.

The idea is that party officials formerly on the committee will spend more time organising at a grass-roots level to drum up support.

Chhay has also replaced party secretary-general Khan Savoeun with Hun Phoeung, a permanent committee member and former secretary of state of the Ministry of Defense.

Chhay said that replacing Savoeun is similar to the change in the committee. He wants Savoeun to focus his energies on the local level.

“When [we] have a meeting sometimes he [Khan Savoeun] does not come. In particular, he is very busy without completing the work of the party, but he has completed much work at the grassroots,” Chhay said.

Chhay did not say whether the strategy was related to Funcinpec’s poor showing in the June 3 commune elections, or if it stemmed from the recent failed merger with the Norodom Ranariddh Party.

In the elections, Funcinpec won only one commune, while the ruling Cambodian People’s Party took 1,592. The Human Rights Party nabbed 18, and 22 went to the SRP.

But Chhay was optimistic about what the changes could mean come 2013.

“I think that Funcinpec will have a leap of support after this re-ordering because the removal of leaders from the permanent committee means more work can be done,” he said.

When contacted yesterday, Savoeun declined to comment in detail, but he did say that if it was good for Funcinpec, it was good for him.

“It’s not a problem for me, provided that it means prosperity for the party.”

To contact the reporter on this story: Meas Sokchea at sokchea.meas@phnompenhpost.com

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