The royalist Funcipec party held an internal meeting on Saturday after the dismissal of four of its members following an intraparty conflict that centred on a petition to have two top-level party members fired.
Funcinpec spokesman Nhep Bunchin said the meeting was held at the Tonle Bassac II Restaurant in Phnom Penh but declined to elaborate.
Prince Norodom Ranariddh, party president, signed the writ on Thursday that stripped four officials of their party membership, but gave no reason for their dismissal. The dismissed include deputy secretary-general Seng Haksrun, Nop Phorn, Meach Samroul, and Pheap Pheach.
The action was taken after a petition requesting the dismissal of deputy party president Por Bun Sreu and secretary-general Yim Savy went public. The petition, addressed to Prince Ranariddh, accused the two of nepotism and an inability to lead the party.
It was assumed that Mr Haksrun was author of the petition, with the support of the other party members.
Mr Haksrun said yesterday he was not the leader of the petition but that all participators agreed together.
“I have yet to receive the letter stripping me of my membership from the Funcipec party. How do they have the right to give this information to newspapers to publish it?” he said.
He asked what the future would hold, seeing how Mr Savy and Mr Bun Sreu had joined with Nhek Bun Chhay in the past to topple Prince Ranariddh as party president, but supported him now.
“I was very hurt when other people were appointed instead of my subordinates,” Mr Haksrun said.
Mr Bunchin said only four officials had their membership stripped while four other senior officials – Chhoeng Chamroeun, Heng Chantha, Phan Chantha, and Thav Kimlong – were just rotated into new positions.
“There was no problem with them. Just a work rotation,” he said.
Mr Bunchin said Prince Ranariddh stripped their membership because they had broken the party’s internal rules and compromised the party’s reputation.
“We support the decision by the party president to strip their membership from the party,” he said.
He added Mr Haksrun had leaked the petition’s unsubstantiated allegations to the media, which caused some measure of distress within the party.
Mr Bunchin said such complaints should be dealt with within the party, and not thrust into the public eye.
“Because they did this, we decided they could not stay with us,” he added.