T HE BLDP party has fallen apart, with the usurped faction claiming that
"Cambodia is not ready for democracy" and wondering aloud what the United
Nations intends to do about it.
Prime Minister Hun Sen supported Ieng
Mouly's bid for the BLDP leadership, which left Cambodia without effective
opposition, said Son Soubert, who was elected party vice president in
Mouly himself, at a disputed, parallel party congress he called on
July 9, said: "We have to opt whether we have to stay in the opposition or
within the government.
"I'm a minister in the government, so I cannot be
in the opposition. Our party is... one of the partners in the government," said
Mouly, the present Minister of Information.
Soubert, his father, party
founder Son Sann (presently in Paris recuperating from an eye operation), and
MPs Keat Sokhun, Kem Sokha, Pol Ham and Koy Chhoeurn were all included in a vote
of no confidence during Mouly's congress.
Soubert was - at press time -
awaiting the reaction of Funcinpec leader Prince Norodom Ranariddh to claims
that the congress was irregular and illegal and should not be
Soubert said Hun Sen - "but maybe not the CPP in totality" -
has already recognized and supported Mouly's leadership.
accepted Mouly as leader "despite the illegalities" then Soubert - presently the
Deputy Vice President of the National Assembly - said he fully expected to be
expelled from Parliament along with his five colleagues who appear even now to
be in the wilderness.
"We don't know the real position of Prince
Ranariddh... maybe he maintains a grudge against us because we were outspoken in
support of [former Siem Reap MP Sam] Rainsy," Soubert said.
recognizes Mouly's congress then its political, there is no question about
"Funcinpec have already created a precedent" with their
expulsion of Rainsy, he said.
Expulsions would also be expected among
BLDP provincial officials loyal to the Son Sann clique, Soubert
Mouly said that if his rivals did not react positively to his
congress' resolutions "they will be kicked out." He did not specify a
Soubert said he had asked for assistance from the UN Center for
Human Rights (UNCHR) but they could not help as he could not provide them with
an English translation of the party's internal procedures.
"How now will
the international community react, especially the UN? They have spent so much
money here for nothing," he said.
"Are the Paris Agreements still valid?
There is supposed to be a democracy in Cambodia but this is not the way to
When Son Sann returned from France, "probably some time after
July 17", he would be talking with the King, but all that could be probably
hoped for was - as in Rainsy's case - the King might write an expression of
support, Soubert said.
The Son Sann faction may also ask for a mass
meeting "but I doubt we would be allowed," he said.
Soubert said he would
test the government by asking the Ministry of Interior for his own party
congress, probably in September. "[Co-Interior Ministers] Sar Kheng and You
Hockry could not oppose us in principal, but they may argue that there is now
just one BLDP."
His father has already told Son Soubert from Paris that
Mouly's move was not valid.
Funcinpec members as well as those from the
CPP were present at Mouly's congress - as were embassy representatives from,
among others, the United States, which "saddened" Soubert.
He said he had
previously told Ambassador Charles Twining his presence would legitimize the
meeting "but Charlie just looked on and said nothing."
"Maybe they want
to show they are friends to everyone."
A United States Embassy spokesman
said that it was "sad but true" that, with an elected coalition government,
there was no opposition within the National Assembly anyway.
attended all major political meetings it was invited to "and we would attend,
and have attended, one of the Son Sann's faction already," the spokesman
Mouly said he would "kick out" party members if any of them defied
his leadership, or used the party's name, sign and logo.
already begun a public courting of Rainsy, telling the Post: "Of course [he
could work with Rainsy], we have to gather all our forces
"No-one can afford to sit idle when this kind of dictatorial
system is being set up".
He said "it would be nice" to be an opposition
within the National Assembly however.
"We can set up an alliance but[(the
government] won't give us the right to set up a political party... but we don't
know the electoral law yet."
Soubert said: "I am very distressed when I
think back to all the people who have died for nothing." The precursor to the
BLDP - the KPLNF - fought side-by-side with Royalist forces against the State of
Cambodia regime before the UNTAC elections.
"I remember one military
officer wounded in the field, telling his men to leave him and continue fighting
to set up a democratic Cambodia. This man died there.
"I feel very
distressed about these people... we have betrayed them. They fought for a
democratic Cambodia, for freedom of speech and representation," he said. He said
47 BLDP people - and more than 100 from Funcinpec - died before the Cambodian
Soubert said if he was expelled "I would be happy because I
can not stay idle or not express my opinion" within the Assembly.
1,500 people turned up to Mouly's congress, though some barely had a clue what
it was about. Receipts for 6,000 riel were handed out at the door - though no
money was taken - because people had to be paid-up party members before
"I have no idea about this congress. They told me to come and
they will pay me, but I have received nothing," said one 18-year-old, who asked
not to be named.
Soubert also said that some officials used Son Sann's
name to attract members, and that BLDP policemen were threatened with a demotion
if they did not attend.