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Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Rift Widens Among BLDP Leadership

Rift Widens Among BLDP Leadership

A long-simmering feud among the leadership of the Buddhist Liberal Democratic Party

(BLDP) has broken out in the open and threatens to split the faction-riven party

in two.

Ieng Mouly, the BLDP's first vice-president, told the Post that two camps have emerged

in the party and differences in the leadership have become intense in recent months.

"I have ceased to listen to him (Sonn San) because of our many differences of

opinion. We can not accept his ideas when he does not want to listen to us,"

he stated.

Mouly, a founder of the BLDP which has ten members in the Constituent Assembly, said

that he had no plan to leave the party, but that he and other followers have distanced

themselves from the president.

"I can say now among the ten representatives in the assembly the majority is

on my side," he said.

In the run up to the election, a conflict erupted between Sonn San and Mouly over

whether the party should take part in the election or not.

Sonn San advocated boycotting the election and despite great pressure from many opposition

sources, Mouly insisted the party stay in.

Sonn San later sought to have his first deputy removed from the Supreme National

Council (SNC) and his candidacy to run in the election revoked. His demand, which

Mouly said was groundless, failed to find a positive response from the heads of the

SNC and UNTAC (United Nations Transitional Authority in Cambodia).

"His Excellency Sonn San did not indicate what I'd done wrong. In the court

you have to prove your allegation with something. He violated the party status,"

Mouly said.

At the convening of the Constituent Assembly Sonn San was appointed president of

the Constituent Assembly and the BLDP was awarded three ministerial posts-Women,

Youth and Sports Affairs, Relations with the Assembly and Rural Development.

Mouly who is an elected member of the assembly failed to get a portfolio.

He said he had suggested that ministers should be BLDP-elected members of the Constituent

Assembly, and as for the non-elected ones, they could become deputy ministers. But

he said his idea was dismissed by Sonn San who gave portfolios to other officials

of the party.

"He raised a pretext that we gave him total power," Mouly said.

The formation of the government proceeded without any objections, despite a strong

debate about legal aspects led by some BLDP members.

Mouly predicted that through hand-raising approval the drafting of the constitution

might be finished even before three months, except for some technical problems involving

the translation of principles into real institutions.

"Politically, all the Khmer parties do not have any differences. But, we have

to translate the political will into legal act," he said.

"That's why I am not very satisfied with the work of the assembly," he


"It seems to me the assembly proclaimed itself as a national assembly. Then

I asked if it is what rules or whether it is ruled by law," he added.

He suggested the constitution should clearly state that the election-winning party

be given a ruling role in government,



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