Embattled Funcinpec Secretary-General Nhiek Bun Chhay denied on Friday reports from within his own party that he plans to step down from his position.
Several Funcinpec officials claimed on Thursday that Nhiek Bun Chhay had asked party President Prince Norodom Ranariddh to replace him as secretary-general in favor of royalist lawmaker Chhim Seak Leang.
“I would like to deny this information that I will step down. It is not true,” Nhiek Bun Chhay said by telephone on Friday.
“I wonder who is spreading this false information…. I am still in my position and I will make further reforms inside the party. Tomorrow I will go to Takeo province to meet 1,000 party people,” he said.
Ok Socheat, Prince Ranariddh’s public affairs adviser, said that he had not heard the secretary-general tend his notice but he claimed that Nhiek Bun Chhay reported his planned resignation to Funcinpec members, including Chhim Seak Leang and former Phnom Penh deputy governor Mam Bun Neang.
Whether he steps down now makes little difference, said Ok Socheat, adding that Nhiek Bun Chhay must soon vacate his post and stand for re-election.
“If he will not step down now, his day will come in about two months because an election committee has been formed,” he said.
“There will soon be free and fair elections for other candidates to stand [for secretary-general],” Ok Socheat said, adding that Prince Norodom Chakrapong and Prince Norodom Sirivudh are potential candidates.
Nhiek Bun Chhay has been subject to strong criticism by a faction within the Funcinpec party who accuse him of being too close to Prime Minister Hun Sen’s ruling CPP, and of failing to defend his own party members from being sacked from government jobs.