Funcinpec: You Hockry No Longer an Issue

Funcinpec officials have de­clared the issue of embattled co-Minister of Interior You Hockry closed, saying they want to move on, party members said on Sun­day.

But some members indicated that it may not be that easy to pa­per over the discontent of the par­ty faction that began trying to oust You Hockry months ago—and saw its effort fail earlier this month.

Meanwhile, the Funcinpec par­lia­mentarian who had aroused the government’s suspicion by de­claring he planned to lead an armed revolt of ethnic Khmers against the Vietnamese government, Thach Sang, resigned from the party and the National Assembly, Funcinpec members said.

And in an attempt to create the appearance of party unity, Fun­cin­pec leadership has had party of­ficers and lawmakers agree not to speak to the media about internal issues anymore.

All these decisions came at an eventful meeting of Funcinpec’s Steering Committee on Friday afternoon.

Party President Prince Noro­dom Ranariddh, who chaired the meeting, read a decree stating that he was closing the book on the You Hockry issue. “This measure was applauded by everyone in attendance,” said Klok Buddhi, a lawmaker and steering Ccom­mittee member who attended the meeting.

Since February, a faction of former Funcinpec resistance fighters has agitated for the ouster of You Hockry, whom they accuse of cor­ruption and nepotism. The party nominated Deputy RCAF Commander-in-Chief Khan Sa­voeun to replace You Hockry, but on Aug 8 the Assembly voted down his candidacy.

“Some party members don’t want to be done with this problem, they want to continue it,” Klok Buddhi said on Sunday. “But it’s over. We have to ac­know­ledge that.”

Khan Savoeun, a member of the steering committee, did not at­tend Friday’s meeting. An ano­ny­mous Funcinpec lawmaker who supported Khan Savoeun said many party members were disappointed with the prince’s announcement.

Klok Buddhi said he was one of the party officials behind a “call for order”—a document signed by at least 50 party officials and lawmakers, stating that they agreed not to speak to the press about party affairs or on behalf of the party in the future, especially about the Khan Savoeun issue.

Instead, all questions should be directed at the party’s newly ap­pointed spokesman, Assembly Secretary-General Kol Pheng, a close adviser to Prince Ranariddh who rarely makes statements to journalists.

Kol Pheng could not be reached for comment on Sunday de­spite repeated phone calls.

“It’s true that some people think this is just a measure to please You Hockry” by stifling dis­sent, Klok Buddhi said. “But that’s not true—it is to discipline members on every issue.”

At the meeting, Prince Rana­riddh announced that Thach Sang, self-proclaimed leader of the Kampuchea Krom National Liberation Front, has resigned from the party and the Assembly, another steering committee mem­ber who attended the meeting said.

The member, who asked not to be named because of the “call for order” against speaking to the press, said the party had gratefully accepted the resignations. Thach Sang has a “green card” allowing him to stay and work in the US, the member said.

 

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