Funcinpec President Prince Norodom Ranariddh has appointed senior minister Khy Tainglim to run the embattled party during his frequent absences from the country.
Prince Ranariddh, who is currently in Malaysia, appointed Khy Tainglim, a former minister of public works and transport, to head the party’s board of directors while he is outside Cambodia.
As dean of Funcinpec, Khy Tainglim must implement the prince’s orders and consult with him constantly, Prince Ranariddh wrote in a directive dated Monday and received Thursday.
Khy Tainglim could not be reached for comment.
The prince’s public affairs adviser Ok Socheat said that while Khy Tainglim can convene the party’s board of directors, the board’s 59 members will make decisions collectively.
Government spokesman Khieu Kanharith said the CPP welcomes the appointment. “Khy Tainglim is senior; he can maintain a good relationship [between the two parties],” he said. But he added that the CPP would prefer it if Prince Ranariddh remained in the country and ran the party himself.
Funcinpec’s Minister of Rural Development Lu Laysreng said the appointment contravened the party’s rules as the head of the board of directors should be elected.
But Lu Laysreng, who has publicly accused Prince Ranariddh of being responsible for Funcinpec’s steep decline, said he did not want to discuss the matter further because the party no longer listens to him.
Koul Panha, director of the Committee for Free and Fair Elections, said the new appointment will probably mean little as Funcinpec Secretary-General Nhiek Bun Chhay will continue to run Funcinpec with the backing of the CPP. “[Prime Minister] Hun Sen gave the green light to Nhiek Bun Chhay,” he said.
Nhiek Bun Chhay could not be contacted Thursday, but he has previously denied working too closely with the CPP.