F’pec Begins Housecleaning in Kampot, Takeo

Funcinpec will reshuffle several prov­incial-level officials as its first step toward the reorganization an­nounced at the party’s congress in No­vember, Funcinpec officials said Wednesday. 

Kampot Provincial Governor Puth Chandarith and Takeo First Deputy Provincial Governor Kuch Chantha will be moved to unspecified positions, Funcinpec spokes­man Chea Chanboribo said.

“It is not a surprise. Kampot and Takeo would be the first step of the reform set out by the party’s recent congress,” Chea Chanboribo said, adding that the orders came directly from Funcinpec President Prince Norodom Ranariddh.

Puth Chandarith said he had re­ceived unofficial notice of the move, which he called routine.

But Kuch Chantha said party leaders might be holding provincial officials responsible for Fun­cinpec votes lost in the Senate election.

“We did lose votes. It could be one of the reasons. I won’t feel disheartened. I will still be faithful to Funcinpec but will try even harder,” Kuch Chantha said.

Kompong Chhnang Deputy Pro­­­v­incial Governor Ly Suo, a Fun­cinpec official, said he had heard that former Banteay Mean­chey pro­vincial governor Thach Khorn would replace Puth Chan­darith, though Thach Khorn said he had no information about the move.

Hang Puthea, executive director of the Neutral and Impartial Com­mittee for Free Elections in Cam­bo­dia, said Funcinpec’s housecleaning was likely an effort to ce­ment political control over provincial positions, not to improve services in the provinces.

“The provincial authority is the rep­resentative of the political party in the province. They are responsible for the political situation in the province,” he said.

Sam Rainsy Party lawmaker Son Chhay urged the government to use set criteria in appointing pro­vincial officials.

“The governors and the deputy governors in this country are some­how not qualified,” Son Chhay said.

“It has become a big problem, be­cause they use their position to manipulate people…. This is a problem that makes poverty in this country, and creates all this abuse and intimidation.”


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