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Disgruntled Funcinpec officials demand investigation

Disgruntled Funcinpec officials demand investigation

Funcinpec officials ousted from their positions in a reshuffle of provincial governors

and their deputies have asked absent party president Prince Norodom Ranariddh to

look into corruption and nepotism within the party.

A group of 11 former governors and deputy governors met at Funcinpec headquarters

on November 29 to sign, thumbprint and hand over a petition asking Ranariddh to investigate

what they call "irregularities" in the shakeup.

Ou Bun, former Kampong Speu governor and a signatory to the petition, said some of

the new recruits were not Funcinpec members or came from a low rank and suggested

that provincial posts were sold or given to friends and relatives of those in power.

"It was a reshuffle without fair strategy," said Bun.

"I think that when the party itself is corrupt and partisan there will be a

future dissolution and I am concerned that will happen in the national elections

of 2008," he said.

Bun warned that there would be a reaction from the ousted politicians if they remained

unhappy with the action taken by Funcinpec leaders, but refused to confirm whether

they would split from the party.

Tep Nonnary, former Kandal provincial governor, said that the reshuffle was unacceptable

because it left individual officials unable to work.

"There was some irregularity that the party need to investigate... I do not

want the position but I need to see the party becoming strong again," said Nonnary.

Nhek Bun Chhay, deputy secretary-general of Funcinpec and chairman of a special committee

set up by the party to deal with disgruntled officials, told reporters he would submit

the complaints to Ranariddh for a final decision.

The prince left the country to attend an Asean parliamentary meeting in Pakistan

in early November and is scheduled to return on December 3.

Bun Chhay also denied rumors that he planned to take over the Funcinpec party.

A senior official associated with Prince Norodom Sirivudh, secretary-general of Funcinpec,

told the Post on condition of anonymity that the leaders of the party had expressed

their commitment to reshuffle all levels of the government positions after the party's

lack of success in the 2003 national elections.

Funcinpec won 26 seats of a total 123 National Assembly positions in 2003, down from

43 seats in 1998 and 58 in 1993.

The senior official said that 42 of the total 74 provincial governor and deputy governor

posts were new recruits.

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