PM Calls for Reshuffle of F’pec Officials

Prime Minister Hun Sen wrote Tuesday to National Assembly President Heng Samrin calling for a vote to remove and replace 10 senior Funcinpec government officials.

Funcinpec President Prince Norodom Ranariddh’s cabinet issued a statement later Tuesday rejecting Hun Sen’s call to reshuffle the royalist officials.

The removal is not based on national interests, but personal interests as the officials have done nothing wrong, the cabinet said. The cabinet added that Prince Ranariddh was not consulted and had not approved the reshuffle.

“The removal contradicts the contract between Prince Ranariddh and Prime Minister Hun Sen in the protocol agreement between the CPP and Funcinpec signed June 30, 2004,” the statement said.

Included in Hun Sen’s proposed removals, Ly Touch is to replace Serei Kosal as senior minister; Nouv Sovathero is to replace Chea Chanboribo in the Information Ministry; Meach Sam An is to replace Tuot Lux in the Justice Ministry; Chan Houn is to replace Kassie Neou in the Justice Ministry and Tea Chen is to replace Pok Than in the Ministry of Education.

Also to be replaced are: Nuth Nin Doeun, secretary of state at the Ministry of Tourism, Hor Sopheap, Information Ministry secretary of state, Sok San, Labor Ministry secretary of state, Tann Sithan, Ministry of Water Resources secretary of state and Nge Chhay Ly, Commerce Ministry secretary of state.

The prime minister also issued a letter to Senate President and Acting Head of State Chea Sim on Tuesday calling for the appointment of nine Funcinpec officials as under-secretary of states, who will replace several other Funcinpec government officials.

Contacted by telephone, Ly Touch said that he was honored by his appointment to senior minister and that this was not a sign of instability in Funcinpec.

“In any government there’s always changes some times and some ways. The prime minister gave me a mission to serve so I will do my best,” he said.

He added that the officials listed in the shuffle were selected by Funcinpec Secretary-General Nhiek Bun Chhay.

Nouv Sovathero, currently under-secretary of state for the Council of Ministers, said that he had just discovered his appointment and did not wish to comment until he received official notification.

Nuth Nin Doeun, said that he was unaware of the prime minister’s call for his sacking and declined to comment.

Prince Ranariddh reiterated his view that Hun Sen had mistreated him in an interview with Voice of America on Monday.

He complained that Hun Sen rarely reacted to SRP leader’s Sam Rainsy’s criticism and did not react at all to former police commissioner Heng Pov’s controversial allegations.

The prince also appealed to the Cambodian people to “find justice” for him.

Nguon Nhil, the CPP’s first vice president of the National Assembly, said that Hun Sen did not react to Heng Pov’s allegations as the courts had already dealt with him.

Koul Panha, director of the Committee for Free and Fair Elections, said that the shakeup is sending a message that the CPP are ready to break formally from the Funcinpec coalition.

“The CPP want full control of this government. It’s not a coalition anymore,” he said.

“They must consult with the prince. But the agreement doesn’t exist anymore,” he added.




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