The continuing shuffle of Funcinpec officials may expand to include the troubled party’s provincial officials—an idea causing some debate, officials said Sunday.
In the aftermath of their weak showing in the Feb 3 commune elections, Funcinpec leaders proposed several strategies to restore its prominence for the July 2003 national elections, including shaking up the party hierarchy.
Last week a majority of Funcinpec’s steering committee voted to eject co-Minister of Interior You Hockry him from his position and the party. Party President Prince Norodom Ranariddh has not yet signed the order.
Reached Sunday, You Hockry said next on the removal list would be “governors and deputies who have internal conflicts or cannot work with others.”
Funcinpec parliamentarian Ouk Socheat told Rasmei Kampuchea newspaper all the governors would be changed as soon as next week, but You Hockry said that would be too drastic a step.
“The prince told me that there will be some replacements, but [replacing them all] would not be possible,” he said. He declined to specify which governors would be replaced.
Funcinpec provincial officials argued it was their colleagues who should be removed.
“Too much change is not good; an old hand does a better job,” Kampot First Deputy Governor Meng Suon said, adding that he would not hesitate to make his finances public to prove he is not corrupt.
Two other provincial officials said the shuffle should be selective and declared they were innocent of corruption.
But Kieng Vang, a secretary of state in the Ministry of Interior, said a far-reaching change would invigorate the party, helping to build support for the election.
“Three or four years at a post is long enough. New people try hard to do a good job,” whereas longtime leaders often cease to be effective, he said.
“Removing You Hockry and shuffling the governors won’t mean chaos for Funcinpec in the national election,” he said. “It will only be chaotic for those individuals.”