Embattled co-Minister of Interior You Hockry Wednesday challenged fellow Funcinpec members to tell him why they want to oust him from his job.
“Before they take action against me, I want to know what I did wrong,” You Hockry told reporters at a development conference at the ministry.
The drive to remove You Hockry began when more than 1,000 former Funcinpec resistance fighters signed a petition accusing him of nepotism and corruption.
Party members, including party President Prince Norodom Ranariddh, have expressed anger that You Hockry apparently possessed a list of suspected members of the Cambodian Freedom Fighters that included party Secretary-General Prince Norodom Sirivudh, but failed to hand it over to the party.
A majority of the royalist party’s steering committee have signed a request to fire You Hockry, and Prince Ranariddh has said he will approve it when he is satisfied the list is complete.
On Wednesday, You Hockry attacked both the resistance fighters’ petition and the steering committee signatures.
He claimed the petition had not been verified to ensure its signatures came from former fighters or Funcinpec members.
“Should we accept a petition with fake signatures, or unqualified signatures?” he said. “The steering committee must reconsider whether [the petition] is acceptable.”
He urged party elites to consider his loyalty. “I am not a common activist member—I am a founding member,” he said. “I don’t mean a founding member from 1992. I am a founding member since Funcinpec was formed by the King in 1981…. What did I do to the party that the former resistance fighters have the power to kick me out?”
Some observers have suggested that the push to expel You Hockry was not caused by his actions, but by the party rank and file who wanted to test their influence, and the power of Prince Ranariddh, to make bold moves.
You Hockry alleged that the steering committee members thought they were signing an attendance sheet when they signed a petition to remove him.
He even challenged the steering committee’s authority, saying, “It is not right that only the steering committee decides this…. I am the senior member here. If I never called the steering committee together, would they meet?”
Internal disputes like this are splintering Funcinpec and imperiling its chances in next year’s planned national elections, You Hockry said. “[We] have only 13 more months to arrange for the election. If we love Funcinpec, why don’t we reconcile?” he said. “If we want Funcinpec to stay alive and win the election, we have to come together.”