Amid much fanfare, Funcinpec wrapped up its Extraordinary Congress on Tuesday by amending party bylaws in what party leaders said were sincere moves toward reform.
Funcinpec President Prince Norodom Ranariddh announced that the party’s deputy secretary-generals would be further reduced from seven to four officials—the latest reduction in the number of people holding the post, which stood at a whopping 22 last year.
The prince also used the forum to announce the sale of the party’s headquarters in Phnom Penh, which he said was a transparent deal.
“Saying Funcinpec is weak and has no clear structure of supporters is just speculation,” Prince Ranariddh told reporters.
“They said our reform is…only in word. This reform will make Funcinpec a main partner for the CPP,” he said, adding that moves toward reform were aimed at luring back former Funcinpec officials who had left the party fold.
Commenting on the sale of the party’s headquarters, the prince said the deal was carried out transparently.
“We did not share the money among us,” he said.
“The compound of the old headquarters sold for $3.6 million. Please, don’t believe it could be sold for $5 million,” he added.
The party has already purchased an 11-hectare plot for new headquarters in Dangkao district, the prince said. That land cost $1,189,671, and land filling and construction will cost over $400,000.
Funcinpec leaders on Tuesday continued to praise what they said was a landmark move toward cooperation with Prime Minister Hun Sen’s ruling CPP.
“This Congress is a turning point not only for Funcinpec, but for the country, because people used to suffer from disharmony and instability,” Funcinpec lawmaker Ly Thuch said.
Funcinpec officials were unable to pin a price tag to the extravaganza, which involved 338 performers, hundreds of meters of blue-and-yellow bunting and 4,500 party supporters wearing t-shirts and caps emblazoned with the Funcinpec logo. But Prince Ranariddh in speeches thanked officials for more than $90,000 in contributions.
As the Congress came to a close, commune chiefs lined up to have their photographs taken with an enormous portrait of Prince Ranariddh in the background.
Funcinpec spokesman Chea Chanboribo said the two-day event was proof that Funcinpec is strong. “This is to prove that Funcinpec has a network of support and enough human resources.”