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Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Funcinpec veterans not expected to hold positions in next govt

Funcinpec veterans not expected to hold positions in next govt

Nhek Bun Chhay to lead fresh group of royalists to fill limited, junior positions as party leaders get squeezed out of holding any senior spots

FOUR of Funcinpec's top officials are not expected to hold positions in Prime Minister Hun Sen's next government, ruling and royalist party officials said Monday.

"There are probably no positions for Funcinpec's president Keo Puth Rasmey; parliamentary candidate Prince Norodom Arun Rasmey; second deputy president Prince Sisowath Sirirath; and first deputy president Lu Laysreng, said CPP spokesman Khieu Kanharith. Instead, he said, Funcinpec secretary general Nhek Bun Chhay and his close colleagues will be given positions.

Keo Puth Rasmey and his colleagues have been warned by Hun Sen not to expect any role in the new government after he accused them of supporting an opposition party rejection of the July 27 poll results.

Instead, a Funcinpec faction led by party secretary general Nhek Bun Chhay is expected to enter into a coalition deal with the CPP.

But Prince Sisowath Sirirath said Monday that Funcinpec is still led by Keo Puth Rasmey, clarifying that Nhek Bun Chhay is not leading a splinter group inside Funcinpec.

"Whoever said that Funcinpec was led by Nhek Bun Chhay is wrong, Funcinpec is only one not separated as two," Sisowath Sirirath said.

He added, "We have nothing to say about joining the government, but we congratulate our friends."

Lu Laysreng said it wasn't important for him to hold a post in the new government.  "For these seats there are no positions for us, so let the young generation do it," he said.

Nhek Bun Chhay noted that the royalists have two positions available to them, albeit lower posts than the royalist veterans have held. Because Keo Puth Rasmey and Lu Laysreng could advance no further than deputy prime minister, posts in which they have already served, it was decided to promote new people, he said.

"We have four senior ministers but there are no minister positions for us, only secretary of state and under secretary of state," Nhek Bun Chhay said.

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