Prince Norodom Ranariddh has warned that he will sack members of his Funcinpec party
if they don't visit constituents in the countryside.
"I am not happy with some ministers," Ranariddh told reporters outside
the National Assembly on July 28. "But I do not want to identify them to the
The Funcinpec president said that the possible removal of officials from the government
payroll is not based on personalities, and will be designed to encourage party members
to work more effectively on behalf of the people and help rebuild the party.
When asked whether Funcinpec's failure to reduce the price of petrol - one of 73
points in a political platform co-signed by Funcinpec and the Cambodian People's
Party (CPP) - would effect the parties standing in future elections, he noted that
both coalition partners were responsible for keeping promises.
"However, we are the partner [of the CPP], and we sit in one boat - if the boat
sinks, we will drown together," Ranariddh said.
With Senate elections scheduled for January 22, 2006, both Prime Minister Hun Sen
and Ranariddh have encouraged their party officials to visit rural areas and listen
to the needs of farmers.
The prince said that he expects several Sam Rainsy Party (SRP) commune council members
to join Funcinpec for the 2007 commune elections 2007 and 2008 national elections.
"Sam Rainsy will not return to Cambodia, so he cannot bring evidence to support
his allegations against Hun Sen and Ranariddh," Ranariddh said.
On July 18, Ranariddh went further with his popularity push, announcing that Funcinpec
commune councils will pay 5,000 riel to any members who remain loyal and vote for
Funcinpec in February 2007.
Buying votes is illegal.
Article 231 of the 2001 Law on the Election of Commune Councils states that any candidate
who "buys off the votes by using either any object or cash" will be deleted
from the list of contenders and have their voter registration card removed. They
can also be fined anywhere from 5 million riel ($1,250) to 25 million riel ($6,250).
The scramble to win over voters comes as hundreds of Funcinpec officials wait on
promised positions within the expanded government.
Hun Sen agreed to create more jobs for Funcinpec members in the coalition government,
but the June 15 deadline for appointing those roles has passed.
Hann Sali, deputy chief of the ferry department in Preak Tameak, Kandal province,
said that he is one of 18 Funcinpec officials in the Ministry of Public Works and
Transportation who were promised a promotion to the rank of director general.
"I am told that all jobs are now in the hands of Sok An, Minister of the Council
of Minister [but he has not made any decisions yet]," Sali said.
Chea Chanboribo, the Funcinpec spokesman, said that the appointment of Funcinpec
officials to new positions is progressing, but has been delayed as the party watches
to see who remains loyal.
Chanboribo would not confirm whether 535 Funcinpec officials are waiting for jobs,
as reported in local media, but said that positions existed in every department within
the government's 25 ministries.