Funcinpec President Prince Norodom Ranariddh warned party officials Tuesday that he will fire them if they act as agents for other parties and work to undermine Funcinpec, officials said.
The embattled prince made his threat while addressing several hundred supporters in Pursat province a day after his return to Cambodia from overseas, said Ok Socheat, the prince’s public affairs adviser. “The prince will fire anyone who allows someone else to interfere in the party,” he said.
Prince Ranariddh did not elaborate on who inside the party might be working against Funcinpec, or who they might be working for, Ok Socheat said.
Funcinpec Senior Minister Serei Kosal confirmed that the prince made the threat. “Officials with any position can be fired,” said Serei Kosal, adding that the public knows which royalist officials have been allowing other parties to interfere with Funcinpec, though he declined to name them.
Several Funcinpec chiefs have in recent months publicly accused party Secretary-General Nhiek Bun Chhay of cozying up to Prime Minister Hun Sen’s ruling CPP.
Several royalist officials have also claimed that Nhiek Bun Chhay provided Hun Sen with a list of names of top Funcinpec officials who the prime minister last week called on the National Assembly to replace.
Nhiek Bun Chhay, who has previously declined to discuss that allegation, declined to comment on Prince Ranariddh’s latest warning.
Government spokesman and Information Minister Khieu Kanharith said the prince should concentrate on uniting his party.
“Funcinpec should strengthen itself. They should not fire people but should unite forces instead,” he recommended.
Khieu Kanharith also said that Nhiek Bun Chhay is just trying to do his best for his party.
Koul Panha, director of the Committee for Free and Fair Elections, said the prince’s warning will likely spur further resentment in an already fractured Funcinpec.