Prince: You Hockry Will Stay in Funcinpec

Funcinpec will not remove co-Minister of the Interior You Hock­ry from the party in order to protect his ministerial seat for the royalists, Funcinpec President Prince Norodom Ranariddh said Friday.

After months of pressure from party activists, Prince Ranariddh an­nounced last month that he would seek a new Funcinpec co-Minister of Interior.

But the CPP-controlled Na­tional Assembly must approve new ministerial ap­pointees, and Funcinpec officials worry the CPP would stall such a vote if the seat were empty, leaving the ministry in the sole hands of CPP co-Minister Sar Kheng.

“It is better to have a co-minister from Funcinpec than to have Sar Kheng alone in this important ministry,” Prince Ranariddh said to re­porters outside the Na­tional Assembly. He said such a scenario would be a “re­sponsibility I cannot accept.”

The party has been in turmoil for months, since a rebellious faction of former resistance fighters demanded the ouster of You Hockry, who also chairs the party’s steering committee.

But the party has not officially designated a replacement, Prince Ranariddh said Friday. Although party leaders have agreed on RCAF Deputy Commander-in-Chief Khan Savoeun, they have not completed the paperwork to nominate him, the prince said.

As soon as he gets a letter from the party, Prince Ranariddh said he “will talk directly with the prime minister.”

Prime Minister Hun Sen has publicly expressed doubts that CPP lawmakers will provide the two-thirds majority necessary to replace You Hockry, but the prince said the CPP is obligated to approve the replacement un­der the coalition agreement.

“When Funcinpec proposes a candidate…I will ask the CPP to abide by the agreement between the two parties,” the prince said.


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