Funcinpec Congress Ends With Much Fanfare

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.”


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