Three of Phnom Penh’s seven deputy municipal governors, all of whom were Funcinpec members, were removed from their positions in a ceremony at City Hall on Tuesday.
Mao Yourann, Prince Sisowath Pheanuroth and Ouch Thongseng were removed as part of the first stage of a plan to retrain 43 deputy royalist governors nationwide, CPP Deputy Municipal Governor Map Sarin said. The three men did not attend the 30-minute ceremony.
Contacted by telephone, they said they had not been officially informed of their removals, adding that they will return to the ministries for which they had previously worked.
Ouch Thongseng said that he had heard informally that he was going to be removed.
“I want to rest before I go to work [in another position], so I didn’t join [the ceremony],” he said.
Map Sarin said that Funcinpec members may replace the three.
The dismissal of the three comes in the wake of last month’s removal of Deputy Municipal Governor Mam Bun Neang, who is also a Funcinpec official.
Only 13 of the 43 positions will be filled by replacements from the royalist party, government spokesman and Information Minister Khieu Kanharith said earlier this month.
Mao Yourann was appointed to his position last year after defecting from the Sam Rainsy Party to Funcinpec before the 2003 elections. Currently, only Trak Thai Sieng remains as a Funcinpec deputy municipal governor.
Committee for Free and Fair Elections Director Koul Panha said he supported reducing the number of deputy governors, but not along partisan lines. He added that there should be only one governor and two deputy governors in municipalities and provinces.
“When there are a lot of people, there is no work efficiency,” he said.
“The current removal is political,” he added.