A newly reorganized working group designed to handle disputes between the CPP and Funcinpec met for the first time on Tuesday, and foremost on the agenda was the ruling party’s intentions toward the strife-torn royalist party, officials said.
The Funcinpec delegation, led by newly appointed Secretary-General Nhiek Bun Chhay, were told that Funcinpec need not be concerned by Prime Minister Hun Sen’s recent firing of royalist officials.
Such removals were necessary for government efficiency, Information Minister and government spokesman Khieu Kanharith said on Wednesday.
“We met to foster further relations and so that Funcinpec officials do not [feel] concerned,” Khieu Kanharith said.
“The removals were in order to ensure the government is stable and efficient,” he added.
Some CPP officials at the provincial level will also be removed, said Khieu Kanharith, adding that Funcinpec will replace 12 of their 43 deputy provincial governors, who are soon to be removed for lacking educational qualifications commensurate with their positions.
Chea Chanboribo, spokesman for the Funcinpec working-group delegation, could not be reached for comment.
Hang Puthea, director of the Neutral and Impartial Committee for Free Elections, said that the meeting was unlikely to herald an end to the CPP’s removal of Funcinpec officials.