Hard-Pressed Funcinpec to Move Headquarters

Funcinpec Secretary-General Nhiek Bun Chhay said Sunday that the royalist party has decided to move its Phnom Penh headquarters from its current location in Russei Keo district to Chea Sophara Street in Sen Sok district.

Mr. Bun Chhay said that Funcinpec, which lost its last two parliamentary seats at last year’s national election, was moving the offices to increase “efficiency and communication” within the increasingly marginalized party.

Yet the secretary-general, whose own property on Chea Sophara Street will now be used as the offices, would not say what will happen to the old headquarters.

“I am moving to organize the new place, so I can’t say anything about the old building,” Mr. Bun Chhay said, declining to comment even on whether the old building was being sold. “Please ask the president of the party,” he said.

Princess Norodom Arunrasmey, the president of the party, could not be reached for comment.

“We have started building three buildings for work, and it will cost between $40,000 to $100,000,” Mr. Bun Chhay said of the plans for the new office. “There will be a meeting hall and a training center to train human resources.”

Mr. Bun Chhay in July 1997 led Funcinpec in factional fighting against armed forces loyal to the then-Second Prime Minister Hun Sen that led to the ouster of Prince Norodom Ranariddh as the first prime minister.

However, in the 2000s he came to lead a faction of the royalist party that sought to work closely with the CPP in government and today retains his position in government as an adviser with the rank of deputy prime minister.

Sim Piseth, a onetime party executive committee member was removed by the party’s leadership after last year’s election, said some mid-level members of the party were seeking to have an injunction placed on any sale of land.

Mr. Piseth said a complaint had been lodged with the Phnom Penh Municipal Court as the land was being illicitly sold to pay back an $800,000 loan taken out by party leaders.

“We have asked the court to avoid any agreement signed by Mr. Bun Chhay and Mr. Puth Rasmey,” Mr. Piseth said, referring to Keo Puth Rasmey, a former president of the royalist party who remains on Funcinpec’s standing committee.

He could not be reached for comment.

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