Funcinpec Ministers Deny Meeting With PM

Five Funcinpec officials on Friday denied they had met with CPP Prime Minister Hun Sen without the permission of their party president, amid allegations that Funcinpec ministers were secretly in contact with CPP members.

“We strongly deny that such [a] secret meeting with Samdech Prime Minister Hun Sen has taken place,” they stated in a letter to The Cambodia Daily, signed by all five officials: You Hockry, the co-minister of Interior; Hong Sun Huot, the minister of Health; Veng Sereyvuth, the minister of Tourism; Khy Taing Lim, the minister of Public Works and Transport; and Ly Thuch, the minister of Rural Development.

The five were identified on Thursday by a high-ranking Fun­cinpec official as having met with CPP members, a day after Funcin­pec President Prince Norodom Ranariddh told report­ers some of his ministers had been in contact with Hun Sen without Prince Ranariddh’s authorization.

The officials also sent a letter Friday addressed to Prince Ranariddh denying the charge. Their letter to the prince called for the removal of Funcin­pec Deputy Secretary-General Ok Socheat, who they said had named them as part of a breakaway group.

Ok Socheat said on Friday he was not concerned about the letter, nor of losing his position in the party.

“I did nothing wrong,” he said.

CPP spokesman Khieu Kanha­rith confirmed on Friday that Funcinpec members had been holding unofficial meetings with CPP members, but he declined to identify them.

“These are people who understand it’s better to cooperate with the CPP,” he said, adding that if the party does not work with the CPP, “Funcinpec will lose its quota” in the National Assembly.

The National Election Commit­tee released primary results of the July 27 general election on Friday, indicating the CPP had won the highest number of votes, followed by the opposition Sam Rainsy Party and with Funcinpec in third.

According to NEC ballot counts, the CPP won 2.45 million votes, the Sam Rainsy Party 1.13 million and Funcinpec 1.07 million.

The NEC did not release the official number of National Assembly seats each party won.

“We are waiting for complaints to be finished” to announce seat allocations, said NEC spokesman Leng Sochea.

Funcinpec and Sam Rainsy Party officials have rejected the poll results, citing irregularities in the election process. They said on Friday they were filing separate complaints to the Constitutional Council.

Funcinpec spokesman Kassie Neou said his party had submitted its complaints to the Consti­tutional Council on Friday morning. Sam Rainsy Party spokesman Ung Bun-Ang said his party would file its complaints late on Friday or on Monday.

The law stipulates a 72-hour window for the filing of election complaints to the Constitutional Coun­cil from the announcement of the initial poll results by the NEC.

“The Constitutional Council will receive the complaints until Monday at 9 am,” Council member Sem Yang said Friday. “And we are open 24 hours [a day].”

(Additional reporting by Wency Leung and Brian Calvert)


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