Funcinpec released its much-anticipated list of provincial and municipal governor positions for the new government mandate on Wednesday.
The royalist party’s governorship appointments have been delayed since the July formation of the new CPP-Funcinpec coalition government, as party members jockeyed for the key positions.
Out of the 24 provinces and municipalities, Funcinpec received 10 governor positions, but lost the governorship of Prey Veng province to the CPP. Among Funcinpec’s governors, only Kampot’s Puth Chandarith, Sihanoukville’s Say Hak and Oddar Meanchey’s Lay Virak were allowed to remain in their positions from the last mandate, according to the list.
Sim Son, the governor of Kep municipality, has been appointed the new governor of Siem Reap province, arguably the second-most prestigious governorship after the capital. He replaces Chap Nhalivuth, the half-brother of Funcinpec President Prince Norodom Ranariddh, who was appointed to be the new governor of Kompong Speu province.
Also on Funcinpec’s list, Battambang police Chief Heng Chantha was named governor of Banteay Meanchey province, Lao Sun Par as governor of Kandal province, Chan Sam An as governor of Kep, Thou Son for Mondolkiri and Khim Seila in Stung Treng. Mam Bun Neang, the current first deputy governor of Phnom Penh, will continue his post, according to the list.
While the appointees had cause to celebrate Wednesday, several Funcinpec governors and deputy governors said they received invitations this week to attend their own replacement ceremony, scheduled for today, without any prior warning of their termination.
“When [Funcinpec] replaced me, they did not inform us before at all,” said Ty Kim Toc, the outgoing third deputy governor of Pursat province. “They should have told me about it first,” he said Wednesday.
Funcinpec’s outgoing second deputy governor of Prey Veng, Lach Sim Aun, said he found out he was being replaced from his friends.
“I know nothing. Only my friends in the Interior Ministry told me about this removal,” he said. “I am a member of the Funcinpec party. I should be told first.”
The outgoing Funcinpec officials said they would not attend the ceremony today. Twenty-two former governors and deputy governors who claimed they had no warning of their dismissal met Wednesday in Phnom Penh to write demanding a letter of explanation from party president, Prince Ranariddh.
“It is not only me, but the other 21 governors and deputy governors also disagree and we have committed not to join the ceremony to hand over power,” Ty Kim Toc said. “I was not re-appointed because I have no money to bribe them.”
Lach Sim Aun also decried the move as unfair. “I spent more than $7,000 for the 2003 election and more money during commune council elections,” he said. “I did not think I would be withdrawn.”
Though the CPP decided on its governor appointments long ago, the party’s list is not available for publication, CPP Information Minister Khieu Kanharith said.