Ranariddh: PM To Help Replace You Hockry

Although uneasy about changing the government, Prime Min­ister Hun Sen has promised to help muster the two-thirds majority needed in parliament to replace outgoing co-Minister of the In­terior You Hockry, Funcinpec President Prince Norodom Ran­ariddh said.

“I have told the prime minister about You Hockry’s removal. He said it is an internal affair of Funcinpec. Though he does not want to change components in the government, he promised, ‘We all will try to get the two-thirds vote for a change,” the prince quoted Hun Sen as saying.

After months of controversy and struggle among members of the royalist party, Prince Ran­ariddh withdrew You Hockry from his post as co-minister of interior Thursday. Some Funcin­pec members, outraged at the party’s poor showing in Febru­ary’s commune council elections, had demanded You Hockry’s ouster.

Appointing a new co-minister of interior will require a two-thirds majority in the National Assem­bly. Speaking Sunday, You Hock­ry said any other means of replacing him would violate Funcinpec rules.

“I made no mistakes. The prince said I have done nothing wrong,” You Hockry said, adding that the pressure to remove him was strictly “political” and not a re­flec­tion of his job performance.

Already, a search is under way for You Hockry’s replacement, but Prince Ranariddh refused to discuss any names.

“I am afraid it will start a new crisis,” the prince said Friday.

The battle over You Hockry dragged on as long as it did, Prince Ranariddh said, because he “left it to both sides to compromise.” The Funcinpec leader said he only stepped in because the situation had been getting “more and more serious.”

You Hockry’s removal came within days of Prince Norodom Chakrapong’s announcement he was starting a royalist party of his own to oppose the CPP. Some party members have demanded that Funcinpec take a more ad­versarial approach with the CPP inside the coalition government.

You Hockry has been supportive and agreeable throughout the crisis, Prince Ranariddh added.

“He respects my decision to remove him,” Prince Ranariddh said. “I thank him for understanding and agreeing to end the crisis in our party.”

The prince said he hoped to have a new co-minister nominated by the close of the assembly’s current session, sometime in July. He said he hoped to heal the rifts in his party ahead of next year’s general elections.

“From now on we must talk about Funcinpec unity,” he  said.


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