Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Funcinpec reshuffle expected in days

Funcinpec reshuffle expected in days

Funcinpec reshuffle expected in days

The secretary-general of the royalist Funcinpec party, Prince Norodom Sirivudh, pledged

April 25 that his party's steering committee would release by the end of April the

names of those in government posts that it planned to reshuffle.

Sirivudh told reporters that the committee would discuss the list of names April

27 as it moves towards instituting the pledge made at its March congress to change

positions of party members, particularly those deemed to be working against the party's

interests.

"Our [reshuffle] will be completed by Saturday or Sunday [April 28]," said

Sirivudh. "I would like to stress that this reshuffle doesn't stem from personal

disputes between this person or that person; rather it is a matter of the party revising

its structure."

He would not comment on how many members would be fired or resign, saying such decisions

were a matter for the steering committee, not one person.

"Funcinpec members will not be surprised at [these changes] - it is normal

for political parties to make changes," he said. Sirivudh added that there were

no limits: party members who were governors, ministers and leaders at any level might

be fired or might be promoted.

Those affected, however, would not be the ones whose names had appeared in newspapers.

That was a clear reference to co-Minister of Interior, You Hokry, who has been much

criticized within the party. Former resistance fighters and some senior party members

alleged he was guilty of nepotism and corruption.

Despite much muttering after the party's surprisingly poor showing in the February

commune elections, Sirivudh claimed the party was not suffering from any internal

problems. The changes were to improve its structure and its ability to work towards

a better showing in next year's national election.

Among the changes Funcinpec wanted to see were improvements in the election law and

the National Election Committee. The party would hold discussions with the Cambodian

People's Party on the draft amendment it would submit to the National Assembly when

it reconvenes in May.

"We have scheduled the meeting with Sar Kheng contingent upon his returning

to the country in time," said Sirivudh. The two men are the co-chairs of a joint

party committee formed for that purpose.

He said that as partners in the coalition government, Funcinpec and the CPP needed

to work together to solve the nation's problems.

"We have many issues requiring renegotiation [with the CPP] such as the election

law amendments and the position of the NEC before we hand the matter to the National

Assembly for debate," Sirivudh said.

"We have to adhere to the will of cooperation, and respect the mutual interests

in each party," he concluded. "We hope that our partner will also respect

the will of cooperation."

At a conference held April 23-24 to analyze Cambodia's elections, Funcinpec president

Prince Norodom Ranariddh told delegates that electoral reforms were essential.

"I believe that the national elections in 2003 cannot and will not be able to

move ahead with some substantive electoral reforms, which must be agreed upon by

the consensus of the major political parties," Ranariddh told the conference.

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