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
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
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
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.
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
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."