A high-ranking Funcinpec official has published a petition calling for the dismissal of two prominent party members, accusing the pair of nepotism.
Seng Haksrun, deputy secretary-general and adviser to party President Prince Norodom Ranariddh, wrote the complaint against Por Bun Sreu, deputy party president, and Secretary-General Yim Savy.
Both Bun Sreu and Savy are also members of a five-man committee in charge of selecting Senate candidates.
“Those two leaders are damaging the reputation of the King Father [Norodom Sihanouk] . . . The two members betrayed the people, members and local activists,” the petition reads, going on to claim the pair engaged in nepotism when firing and hiring members of local committees. The petition called for both men to be fired.
The document obtained by The Post yesterday featured no signatures, but Haksrun claimed 60 percent of the local working groups had signed it.
“I do not do it unilaterally,” he said this morning. “They fired other people and nominated new people,” Haksrun continued, also accusing the pair of threatening to replace Ranariddh with the former party president, the now-jailed Nhek Bun Chhay.
Savy said he was unaware of the petition, but said it was contrary to internal party law.
“Every party has conditions and law . . . so action needs to comply with the law, and what is against the rules is illegal . . . No one is permitted to do so, but he did,” he said.
Asked if he had engaged in nepotism when awarding positions, Savy said he always adhered to party “procedures”.
Party spokesman Nheb Bun Chhin, meanwhile, denied that Haksrun’s petition had gained any ground. Asked whether Haksrun was upset about being passed over for any positions himself, Bun Chhin said only that Haksrun was “jealous”.
Funcinpec won the country’s first democratic elections in 1993, but was ousted in bloody fighting by the Cambodian People’s Party in 1997. The two parties entered into a coalition soon after, with Funcinpec gradually sliding into irrelevance. It was thrust back into prominence by last year’s dissolution of the Cambodia National Rescue Party, when it was tapped to take over 41 of the CNRP’s vacated seats in parliament.
Speaking of the apparent divisions within the group, Southeast Asia expert Dr Paul Chambers said the party “is so faction-riddled that it seems to stay afloat only to maintain the delusion that CPP is somehow leading a multi-party democracy”.
Additional reporting by Khuoch Masy and Andrew Nachemson