Provincial Governorships Stuck In Power Play

The government has been slow to name new provincial governors because of a power struggle between the coalition partners, insiders said Thursday.

Funcinpec wants the governorship list issued prior to the creation of the Senate, but the CPP wants to keep power and delay the appointments until the party gets full agreement from Funcinpec on the Senate, insiders said.

Khieu Sopheak, a spokesman for the Interior Ministry, refused to comment Thursday.

Although the provincial governorship lists have not been issued, who will get what has already been decided, according to insiders from both parties. CPP and Funcinpec will have the same formula for governorships as in 1993 but Oddar Meanchey will go to Funcinpec and Preah Vihear will switch to CPP.

Hun Neng, brother of Prime Minister Hun Sen, is expected to be moved from the governorship of Kompong Cham to Svay Rieng. Kompong Cham in turn  is being offered to Cheang Am,  currently governor of Kompong Thom, insiders say. Funcinpec’s Khek Vandy is likely to keep his position as governor of Phnom Penh.

Funcinpec has appointed Tep Nannary, formerly governor of Prey Veng, to become governor of Kandal.

CPP’s Khim Bo, who is currently deputy governor of Sihanoukville, will become his first deputy.

Sources say that Ratanakkiri Governor Kep Chuk Tema will be moved to Takeo province. NGOs have been told that he will be replaced by a senior police chief, worrying environmentalists.

Kep Chuk Tema has been known for his progressive, pro-environment stance, despite Ratanakkiri’s poor record last year in controlling illegal logging. Kep Chuk Tema would not comment this week on the reports.

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