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Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Soeur quits funcinpec

Soeur quits funcinpec

F UNCINPEC deputy secretary-general Nguon Soeur has confirmed his resignation - hitting

out at corrupt ministers and government policies - to join Sam Rainsy's party.

Soeur told the Post this week he hoped to become Secretary General of Rainsy's Khmer

Nation party, though Rainsy said no final decisions had been made.

Souer, one of six Funcinpec deputy general-secretaries, said he had sent his resignation

to King Norodom Sihanouk, party president Prince Norodom Ranariddh and Secretary-General

Prince Sivivudh Norodom.

Soeur said he would have been prepared to stay with Funcinpec if Ranariddh "would

respect the policies of the party" and its promises before the 1993 election.

Other things he had hoped for were that Ranariddh would accept Rainsy back into the

party, and that he would "resolve the problem of a small number of [Funcinpec]

ministers who are supremely corrupt."

Soeur would not identify those ministers, saying: "Both you and I know who they

are, and so do the public. I don't have to say."

Souer said the final straw for him was the postponement of the Funcinpec party congress

which had been scheduled for early November.

Sirivudh has said the delay is because of "technical problems", but Soeur

said : "Sirivudh is an able [organizer] so I'm not sure this alibi is true.

Maybe he received pressure from others."

In a lengthy interview, Soeur railed against corruptions, Funcinpec's failure to

get an equal share of power in the government, casinos, deforestation, human rights

violations, and the government's lack of help for ordinary Khmers.

"All these reasons caused me to resign, especially a small group of the leaders

in Funcinpec.

..."All of this makes me lose hope. I am not confident in the government. I'm

not against the government, but I just want to help correct the policy of the government."

Soeur, the former deputy chief of the National Police sacked by the Funcinpec-appointed

co-Minister of Interior You Hockry , made by mention of Hockry in his interviews

with the Post.

But he spoke well of Hockry's CPP-appointed counterpart, Sar Kheng, saying: "At

the Interior Ministry there is one good, respectful and beloved person, who is Mr

Sar Kheng."

He said Kheng had at times fought against corruption within the ministry, transferring

or demoting several culprits.

"The government must reshuffle ministers who are recognized as being corrupt.

They must recognize the right to promotion of competent ministers and civil servants.

Souer said he had no personal problems with Ranariddh, and still respected him, but

"I want the president of Funcinpec to understand that if he wants other people

to love and respect him, he should also love and respect them."

Soeur said Funcinpec's leadership had degenerated into several "small parties"

of people, many concerned only for their own well-being.

He estimated that 70 per cent of Funcinpec members were unhappy - and he believed

more defections would follow his - but said they were not powerful to change the

party's leadership.

Meanwhile, Sam Rainsy did not confirm that Soeur would be Secretary-General of the

Khmer Nation party.

"I'm in touch with various people to arrange the structure of the party...but

as of today, nothing is definite," Rainsy said on Oct 31.

But Soeur, as a former high-ranking official in Funcinpec, was guaranted a "top

position" in Khmer Nation.

Rainsy said he intended to announce the party's preliminary leadership on November

9 - the 42nd anniversary of Cambodia's independence from France.

He would reveal the party's 21-member steering committee and some of its 300-member

National Council, he said.

Rainsy made it plain that his choice of day to make the announcement was meant as

a compliment to King Norodom Sihanouk, whose gaining of Cambodian independence had

been one of his major achievements.

While he stressed that he had not and would not seek any support from the King, he

said: "I can say that the Khmer Nation party is the only Sihanoukist party in

Cambodia right now.

"When I say Sihanoukist, I mean that the Khmer Nation party will abide by any

instruction from the King."

Rainsy said the King had publicly stated that the two major parties did not listen

to his views, and "I think the King will never say that about the Khmer Nation

party."

Questioned about the King's role, directly or indirectly, in his party, Rainsy said

he was only saying that he would support the principles of the King.

"It is exactly what Funcinpec promised at the [1993] election, that we will

listen to the King, that we will promote the King's [ideas], that we will even give

power to the King.

"Voting for Funcinpec at that time was a vote for the King.

Asked whether he would support changes to the constitutional requirement that "the

King reigns but does not rule", Rainsy said: "The constitution is not Angkor

Wat temple, that you cannot move or change because it's a historic monument.

"But the constitution is up to the people. It was made on behalf of the people

according to a mandate given by them, and the people can give another made very democratically

if they wanted to.

"What I see is that the present constitution has not solved any problems that

Funcinpec wanted to change before the elections...we have to get out of this standstill."

Rainsy emphasized repeatedly, however, that what he was advocating was an adoption

of the views of the King on major issues.

"I don't say I have the support of the King. I say I support his concepts. I

want to make those concepts mine."

He cited the King's public statements on issues such as democracy, integrity, good

goverance, national indepedence and sovereignty and territorial integrity.

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