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Mouly/Son Sann rift widens

Mouly/Son Sann rift widens

A long- standing rift between two key members of the Buddhist Liberal Democratic

Party (BLDP) - Son Sann and Ieng Mouly - appears to have been revived by a

dispute over how many of the party's supporters can get jobs in the

government.

On Dec. 22 last year, the BLDP submitted to the government two proposed lists

of people-one with 10,766 names on it and the other 5,480-to be given civil

service jobs.

The lists were provided in line with the Paris Peace Accords, which allows

for political parties to be proportionately represented in the civil

service.

The first, larger list was made on behalf of the BLDP-registered during the

UNTAC period-and the second on behalf of its predecessor, the Khmer People's

National Liberation Front (KPNLF).

The fist list was apparently supported

Son Sann, the BLDP president, and the second by the party's vice-president and

KPNLF general-secretary high-profile Minister of Information Ieng

Mouly.

Son Sann's supporters responded angrily when only the second list

was accepted by the Council of Ministers who accused Mouly of making a secret

arrangement to have it approved for his "own future interests".

Mouly

confirmed to the Post he had intervened by assuring the Council of Ministers

that number of people on the smaller list was representative of KPNLF's

administration before the peace accords.

"I know the real numbers because

I was the one who held this job since the beginning [of KPNLF].

"I have

not thought that I should please His Excellency Son Sann or not.

"But it

is my objective not to let those who struggled along with us for more than 10

years be frustrated," he said, in reference to all the people on the second list

having been KPNLF supporters before the peace process.

He said both

lists-one of BLDP members and the other original KPNLF workers-had been prepared

by the BLDP cabinet. He said he was aware that Son Sann would have preferred the

first list be accepted.

Son Sann, who could not be reached for comment,

is understood to have urged both lists be withdrawn for re-examination.

A

BLDP official, who requested anonymity, said that Mouly was distancing himself

from the party to gather support for his political future.

"His name is

still here, but not his mind and his body," said the official.

Mouly has

privately discussed the possibility of leaving the party before the next

elections, some sources say.

His differences with Son Sann date back to

the peace process, when he had to fight to retain his seat on the Supreme

National Council in the face of opposition from Son Sann.

Mouly told the

Post the rift between the two men was historic and "since then, nothing can weld

it".

"My ministerial position was not proposed by Son Sann. He would

appoint his man, wouldn't he?" he said.

Another BLDP official, a Member

of Parliament, saw the tension between the two men as a threat to the party's

future.

"We are very concerned and we want this rift to be healed," he

said.

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