Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Hokry dismissal limps on

Hokry dismissal limps on

Hokry dismissal limps on

Funcinpec's continuing battle to oust co-Minister of Interior, You Hokry, from his

job was again delayed after he accused members of the party's highest decision-making

body of forging signatures to have him sacked.

Hokry threatened to take those individuals he deemed guilty to court to prove his

allegation.

Fifty-four of the Steering Com-mittee's 62 members signed the document demanding

his removal. Hokry has come under increasing fire in recent months from many party

members who accused him of nepotism and corruption.

One member of the party's steering committee told the Post members were incensed

after Hokry called party leader Prince Norodom Ranariddh May 8 charging fraud.

"None of us wants to force him out. We just want him to resign, but he is still

creating more problems," he said on condition of anonymity. "Now we will

have to send the signatures to [Ranariddh] again. Some members have signed twice

on the same line to prove their signatures are not fraudulent."

He said the eight members who had not signed associated with Hokry and Ranariddh.

At the party's annual congress in March, Ranariddh suggested it might be difficult

to remove Hokry as he was appointed to his position almost ten years ago by then

party head, King Norodom Sihanouk. He did not elaborate on why that might be awkward.

"Hokry is making another mistake with his accusations," said the committee

member. "Those people who now deny they signed the list will be revealed as

people he has bought off."

Hokry's position does look untenable. The source told the Post that as long as two-thirds

of the Steering Committee members voted against Hokry, Ranariddh would have to sack

him.

At a dinner held May 8 at the Cambodiana Hotel, Ranariddh reportedly reaffirmed to

committee members that he would accept their decision. Final judgment on Hokry's

fate will be taken mid-May.

Member of parliament, Nan Sy, who is also on the Steering Committee, said the change

was necessary to respond to the demands of the party faithful.

"Almost all the members of the committee have made up their minds to oust Hokry,"

said Nan Sy. "It is not a matter of judging who is right and who is wrong; rather

it is a political decision."

The Steering Committee has decided to leave to Ranariddh the matter of Hokry's replacement

at the shared ministry. The source said the Cambodian People's Party had vetoed the

chances of one touted replacement, deputy commander-in-chief of the army, Khan Savoeun.

General Savoeun fled to O'Smach with Funcinpec forces when fighting erupted in July

1997.

As for the rumored sackings of Funcinpec governors, the committee member said a list

of those to be axed was in the hands of secretary-general, Prince Norodom Sirivudh.

"I am not sure exactly how many names are on it, but I would estimate there

are around ten provincial governors and deputy governors," he said. Each governorship

lasts only three years, he added, and some of those who had been in their positions

for that long would go.

Kampot's Funcinpec governor, Puth Chandarith, said the information was speculative

and unreliable.

"I have heard some information, but only from newspapers and some of my friends,

so I am not concerned. I am simply focusing on my job," said Chandarith. "I

will follow the decision of the president of the party."

The disarray within the party stems from its dismal showing in February's commune

elections. Its leaders pledged to restore the party in preparation for the national

election set for July 2003.

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