FUNCINPEC has formally called for the sacking of Ieng Mouly as Minister of Information,
while a shake-up of provincial governorships is also being urged by some in the party.
Serey Kosal - the recently recalled Funcinpec deputy governor in Battambang - is
being mulled to become the governor of Kandal, while former Khmer Rouge Prum Su has
been mentioned to take over the Banteay Meanchey governor's job.
Funcinpec maintains that it has the right to replace Mouly, a BLDP member who was
given the information position by Funcinpec after the 1993 election. But ministerial
appointments require a vote of two-thirds of the National Assembly, which would require
Funcinpec leader Prince Norodom Ranariddh has recently criticized Mouly's management
of the ministry and, in a Mar 12 statement, the party said that its steering committee
had agreed to replace him.
"The proposal for this change is not politically-motivated but is because of
the need to make the Ministry of Information a provider of true, unbiased information
to the people," the statement said.
Meanwhile, some steering committee members have proposed Kosal to replace the Funcinpec
governor of Kandal, Chak Sarik, in what seems a provocative move. If achieved, it
would pit the fiery Kosal against Kun Kim, the CPP's powerful Kandal deputy governor,
who is a strong ally of CPP leader Hun Sen.
"I'm sure that Prince Ranariddh will take care of him," said a party official.
"We want to see justice for our superiors. It would be an encouragement to loyal
members of Funcinpec."
Funcinpec secretary-general Loy Sim Chheang said Kosal's appointment to Kandal was
only "an idea". He said that suggestions that former KR chief Prum Su -
uncle of Funcinpec general Nhek Bun Chhay - should become the Banteay Meanchey governor
were also only unofficial.
Chheang and other officials acknowledged that changes to government positions would
be difficult to obtain, because Hun Sen's agreement would be necessary.
He would not say whether the issue would be discussed at a three-day Funcinpec national
meeting which in Phnom Penh this week.
At press time, a two-day meeting of Funcinpec's National Council had just begun,
and was due to followed by a one-day congress scheduled for today (Mar 21).
Khmer Nation Party president Sam Rainsy, who had been in Australia, was expected
to attend the congress, along with other representatives from the Funcinpec-led National
United Front of political parties.