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Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Reshuffle clips Funcinpec

Reshuffle clips Funcinpec

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University students and workers from more than 40 NGO's protested outside the Myanmar embassy Tuesday (above) and all week. Ny Chakrya (center) of the human right's group ADHOC said protesters wanted to send a message to the Burmese government: stop the violence against peaceful protesters.

The government's cabinet shuffle last month and increase in the number of CPP-affiliated

deputy prime ministers have left Funcinpec less powerful than ever.

The September 5 decision signed by Prime Minister Hun Sen increased the number of

deputy prime ministers from seven to eight. The new seat went to Ben Chhin, a leading

CPP member and president of the nine-member Constitutional Council.

As deputy prime minister, Chhin will assist Hun Sen in anti-corruption efforts and

facilitate management of the Ministry of National Assembly, Senate Relations and

Inspection and the Ministry of Tourism.

The government at the same time issued written job responsibilities explaining the

role of each deputy. The descriptions show that CPP officials reign over the powerful

ministries, and leave Funcinpec with minor ministries such as Women's Affairs and

Culture.

The changes brought back Funcinpec party member Veng Sereyvuth to serve as minister

of culture and fine arts. Sereyvuth was formerly minster of tourism, but in recent

years he has been chief of the National Tourism Authority. He replaces Prince Sisowath

Panara Sirivuddh, who became ill.

Chan Sotheavy, CPP, was appointed secretary of state for Ministry of Justice.

Prince Sisowath Tesou of Funcinpec became secretary of state for the Ministry of

Tourism.

Nhek Bun Chhay, deputy prime minister and Funcinpec secretary general, told the Post

the changes will help unburden Funcinpec of too many responsibilities.

"Before, I had many jobs in several government ministries and therefore, I could

not work well to fulfill my duties," he said. However, he denied that CPP has

tried to "cut our influence within the government."

Koul Panha, executive director of Cambodia Committee for Free and Fair Elections

in Cambodia, a local NGO, said the political responsibilities have not substantially

changed since the 2003 elections, but the division of responsibility is now clearer.

"Funcinpec no longer has power in the government to make decisions. We can see

that from the areas of responsibility."

Khieu Kanharith, Minister of Information and CPP spokesman, said the division of

duties was aimed at helping the prime minister.

"We are sharing some duties of the deputy prime ministers to help the prime

minister," Kanharith said. "Some duties can be decided by deputy prime

ministers."

CPP duties

The government outlined the CPP deputy prime ministers and their duties as follows:

Sok An, minister of the Council of Ministers, is in charge of coordinating affairs

for the Council of Ministers, prime minister and deputy prime ministers, assisting

the prime minister in following up, facilitating and leading the State reform affairs,

judicial process, trial of former Khmer Rouge leaders. He also oversees mine clearance

and assists the Prime Minister in preparing replies to the questions of the National

Assembly, coordinates work management of the Ministry of Industry, Mines and Energy,

Post and Telecommunications, Information, Education, Youth and Sports, Labor and

Vocational Training, State Secretariat of Public Function, State Secretariat of Civil

Aviation, and directs the Cambodian National Petroleum Authority and the National

Authority for Addressing Land Disputes.

Sar Kheng, minister of interior, is in charge of undertaking work on a day-to-day

basis and filling in as acting prime minister when the prime minister is absent.

He assists Hun Sen on national security affairs, fighting against drugs and trafficking,

leading preventive operations against terrorism, decentralization and de-concentration.

He manages reforms concerning weapons and explosives, assists the Prime Minister

in facilitating work management of the Ministry of Land Management, Urban Planning

and Construction and the Ministry of Planning, Environment and Ministry of Justice.

Tea Banh, minister of defense, assists the prime minister with national defense.

He manages the work orders of the military police throughout the country, assists

the prime minister in coordinating the Ministries of Agriculture, Social Affairs,

Water Resources and Meteorology, and Social Affairs, Veterans and Youth Rehabilitation.

Hor Namhong, minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, assists the

prime minister in foreign affairs and international cooperation and in managing the

Ministry of Commerce and Mekong River National Committee.

Funcinpec duties

The Funcinpec deputy prime ministers and their duties were described as follows:

Keo Puthrasmey, President of Funcinpec, responsible for assisting the prime minister

in managing the Ministry of Women's Affairs, Culture and Fine Arts, and Cults and

Religion.

Lu Laysreng, in charge of Ministry of Rural Development.

Nhek Bun Chhay's duties were defined as helping Hun Sen in security affairs and social

order and assisting the minister of defense in managing and ordering the Military

Police, coordinating management of the Ministry of Public Works and Transportation,

Ministry of Health and leading the committee to control and resolve the events and

development issues along Cambodia borders.

Sam Rainsy, president of the Sam Rainsy Party, summed it up in his own way:

"The CPP is becoming a dictatorship because its partner Funcinpec lost the balance

of power in the coalition government. And secondly, it will lose the checks and balances

between the government and the National Assembly."

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