Funcinpec's continuing battle to oust co-Minister of Interior, You Hokry, from his
job was again delayed after he accused members of the party's highest decision-making
body of forging signatures to have him sacked.
Hokry threatened to take those individuals he deemed guilty to court to prove his
Fifty-four of the Steering Com-mittee's 62 members signed the document demanding
his removal. Hokry has come under increasing fire in recent months from many party
members who accused him of nepotism and corruption.
One member of the party's steering committee told the Post members were incensed
after Hokry called party leader Prince Norodom Ranariddh May 8 charging fraud.
"None of us wants to force him out. We just want him to resign, but he is still
creating more problems," he said on condition of anonymity. "Now we will
have to send the signatures to [Ranariddh] again. Some members have signed twice
on the same line to prove their signatures are not fraudulent."
He said the eight members who had not signed associated with Hokry and Ranariddh.
At the party's annual congress in March, Ranariddh suggested it might be difficult
to remove Hokry as he was appointed to his position almost ten years ago by then
party head, King Norodom Sihanouk. He did not elaborate on why that might be awkward.
"Hokry is making another mistake with his accusations," said the committee
member. "Those people who now deny they signed the list will be revealed as
people he has bought off."
Hokry's position does look untenable. The source told the Post that as long as two-thirds
of the Steering Committee members voted against Hokry, Ranariddh would have to sack
At a dinner held May 8 at the Cambodiana Hotel, Ranariddh reportedly reaffirmed to
committee members that he would accept their decision. Final judgment on Hokry's
fate will be taken mid-May.
Member of parliament, Nan Sy, who is also on the Steering Committee, said the change
was necessary to respond to the demands of the party faithful.
"Almost all the members of the committee have made up their minds to oust Hokry,"
said Nan Sy. "It is not a matter of judging who is right and who is wrong; rather
it is a political decision."
The Steering Committee has decided to leave to Ranariddh the matter of Hokry's replacement
at the shared ministry. The source said the Cambodian People's Party had vetoed the
chances of one touted replacement, deputy commander-in-chief of the army, Khan Savoeun.
General Savoeun fled to O'Smach with Funcinpec forces when fighting erupted in July
As for the rumored sackings of Funcinpec governors, the committee member said a list
of those to be axed was in the hands of secretary-general, Prince Norodom Sirivudh.
"I am not sure exactly how many names are on it, but I would estimate there
are around ten provincial governors and deputy governors," he said. Each governorship
lasts only three years, he added, and some of those who had been in their positions
for that long would go.
Kampot's Funcinpec governor, Puth Chandarith, said the information was speculative
"I have heard some information, but only from newspapers and some of my friends,
so I am not concerned. I am simply focusing on my job," said Chandarith. "I
will follow the decision of the president of the party."
The disarray within the party stems from its dismal showing in February's commune
elections. Its leaders pledged to restore the party in preparation for the national
election set for July 2003.