Funcinpec Members Refuse Compromise Over You Hockry

Funcinpec partisans lobbying for change in the party have re­fused party president Prince Norodom Ranariddh’s request for a compromise with You Hock­ry, co-minister of Interior, saying they will continue their protests until You Hockry is removed.

“We have told him we will discuss among resistance people first and decide later,” said Min­istry of Interior Undersecretary of State Kieng Vang.

Kieng Vang and others say the party needs new leadership and that many loyalists abandoned Funcinpec during the commune council elections because the party was led by those who had lived in exile while others fought, killed and died for the party.

You Hockry said he had spoken by phone with the prince. “I’ll let the party president decide this issue,” he said. “If I am accused of corruption and nepotism, please show the evidence.”

RCAF Deputy Commander-in-Chief General Khan Savoeun met Prince Ranariddh for two hours Thursday morning at the prince’s residence in Kandal province in an attempt to resolve the dispute. But the general remained ada­mant.

“We told [the prince] that the structure in the Ministry of Interior has no resistance fighters, only people who paid money for the positions,” Kieng Vang said. “This is nepotism and corruption. Our stance is still the same. We will continue our pro­test and demands on behalf of resistance fighters and others who made sacrifices for the party.”

Some loyalists say the party, which ran a distant second to the CPP in the Feb 3 commune elections, could face even more defections if their demands for a shake-up are not met.

Funcinpec is scheduled to open its annual party congress Thursday. Prince Ranariddh has called for the two sides to work out their differences and insisted he will maintain the party’s current course, which includes building close ties with the CPP.

That has infuriated many party activists who see Prime Minister Hun Sen and the CPP as their enemy. Some said they were humiliated when the prince and the prime minister embraced at last year’s Funcinpec congress. The prince and prime minister met for at least a few minutes on Friday at a golf course in Kom­pong Speu province.

Song An, 59, has worked for Funcinpec for more than 20 years, and said he wonders what he has re­ceived for his support.

He said he was disappointed by a speech made last week by Prince Ranariddh.

“He wants reform in the party,” Song An said. “But [he] is still trying to keep bad people in government. What is party reform for, if the officials still remain in the same old positions?”

(Additional reporting by Lor Chandara)


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