Funcinpec has appointed seven former Sam Rainsy Party members who defected to the royalist party to be deputy district governors in Phnom Penh, Funcinpec officials said Sunday, adding that about 500 more promised party appointments would be made by the end of the month.
Mam Bun Neang, Phnom Penh’s first deputy governor, on Sunday said all seven appointees were former Funcinpec officials who defected to the SRP but later returned to the royalist fold.
“Now they come back because they see that the SRP is not good,” he boasted.
The appointments were the result of an agreement between Funcinpec President Prince Norodom Ranariddh and Prime Minister Hun Sen, he said, adding that the appointments were not aimed at hurting the opposition.
Chhim Seak Leng, Funcinpec deputy secretary-general, said Sunday that Prince Ranariddh had ordered all of the long-awaited 500 royalist appointments to be made by the end of the month.
“We are pushing for their appointment,” he said.
Hun Sen in May promised the prince that the appointments would be made by June 15, but they have since been delayed. Some speculated that CPP officials were jockeying for the slots initially reserved for Funcinpec.
Sam Rainsy Party Secretary-General Eng Chhay Eang offered Funcinpec his sarcastic congratulations Sunday.
“I hope Funcinpec can appoint other officials,” he said. “If Funcinpec has more positions, maybe even more will go [to their party].”
He added that Funcinpec officials have in the past fled to the SRP “for no position but for ideals and conscience.”