Funcinpec Overhauls Top Positions in Party

In an overhaul of its internal structure, Funcinpec has reduced its 22 deputy secretary-generals to five appointees, including former co-prime minister Ung Huot, royalist officials said.

The cuts to a bloated party leadership are part of wider re­forms to revamp the royalist par­ty, which has seen its popularity plummet in the past 10 years, said Serey Kosal, a senior Fun­cinpec minister and former de­puty secretary-general. “The par­ty wants to reform under all circumstances,” he said Thursday.

Party leader Prince Norodom Ranariddh echoed his comments Saturday. “The decrease [in top level positions] is to reform the party in order to have an effective” party, he said.

New appointees include Ung Huot, who briefly replaced Prince Ranariddh after the then co-prime minister was tossed from the country in factional fighting with the CPP.

He temporarily served as Prime Minister Hun Sen’s royalist counterpart, and then, in the run-up to the 1998 elections, formed his own political party, Reastr Niyum.

That party failed to gain a seat in parliament, and Ung Huot was ac­cepted back into Funcinpec shortly before last year’s parliamentary elections. Reached for comment on Thursday, Ung Huot, who will now act as the party’s election strategist, said he would try his best to work for Funcinpec, but declined further comment.

Other newly appointed de­puty secretary-generals include Chhim Seak Leang, a former minister of rural development, who will take charge of party administration, and Pou Buntrea, the former secretary of state for the Mini­stry of De­fense, appointed to local ad­mini­stration and in­spection.

Tea Chamrath, who served as co-minister of defense in the first term of government, has been ap­pointed head of social affairs and relief distribution. Than Sina, former deputy Phnom Penh governor, has been placed in charge of Fun­cinpec’s internal affairs and in­vest­ment.

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