S ON Sann's Buddhist Liberal Democratic Party (BLDP) faction is pressing ahead
with its planned Oct 1 congress, but the official line on whether it can be held
Co-Minister of Interior You Hockry said Sept 19 that he
would not allow the congress unless BLDP was reunited as one party.
Sann loyalist Kem Sokha claimed that Hockry had earlier given approval for the
congress, as had fellow Minister of Interior Sar Kheng.
Sokha said Hockry
had given Ministry of Interior permission for the congress in a Sept 18 letter
But Hockry told the Post the next day that he had only written
that the congress could proceed if BLDP settled its internal
"In principle one party can hold only one congress," Hockry
said, referring to rival BLDP leader Ieng Mouly's own congress on July
Kem Sokha said Sar Kheng would be asked to confirm his approval for
Sann's congress. Kheng could not be contacted for comment at press
Sann and his supporters say Mouly's congress - which elected him
BLDP president and led to the expulsions of Sann, Sokha and four others - was
illegal. Mouly in return says Sann's congress would be illegal.
legality of Sann's congress was expected to go before the Council of Ministers,
after Second Prime Minister Hun Sen expressed concern to First Prime Minister
Prince Norodom Ranariddh about possible security problems.
meanwhile, has rejected any suggestion he attend the Sann congress, also
referring to the prospect of violence.
Mouly said if he and Son Sann took
their supporters to the congress, people might " make each other angry and this
might lead to fighting."
Even if each other's supporters behaved, there
could be "bad elements from outside who want to...create some
"They may throw three hand grenades and then they can accuse
me, they can accuse the government [of involvement]."
Mouly alleged that
Son Sann had been offering rice to attract people to his congress, and also
offering people jobs in the government.
He said that Sann's officials had
been showing a "falsified" letter from the Council of Ministers agreeing to
accept 10,000 BLDP supporters into the civil service.
that he had threatened that Sann supporters would be arrested if they went to
the Oct 1 congress, Mouly said he had only meant that people who used the fake
letter should be arrested.
Sokha denied Mouly's accusation, saying that
16,000 people had already registered for the congress and Sann did not need to
On the fake letter, Sokha said it was maliciously sent to
Sann's office. It was found not to be genuine, and nobody was pretending
Sokha said the Oct 1 congress would elect a new BLDP board of
directors and president. Mouly was invited to attend, and the issue of reuniting
the party would be discussed.
Pol Ham - one of the BLDP MPs Mouly's
faction have voted to expel from the party - said Sann's congress had been
planned for more than a year and was legal.
Ham, who said he was neither
a Sann nor Mouly supporter, said he felt BLDP was being used by Funcinpec and
"I think they intentionally divide BLDP so they can get a pretext to
sack opposition MPs from Parliament. It's a kind of coup d'état."
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