Displaying a conflict in the inner workings of the Funcinpec party, three senior party officials had their positions removed after Prince Norodom Ranariddh appointed his eldest son to take the helm of the party.
The turnover came after Prince Norodom Ranariddh appointed Prince Norodom Chakravuth as acting president in his absence while he continues medical treatment in Thailand, after his car crash in June.
In a letter signed by Prince Ranariddh dated August 8, the party said that it sacked three of its vice presidents, You Hockry, Por Bun Sreu, Nhep Bunchin, while another vice president Yim Savy resigned
Mr Bunchin said yesterday that he, along with the other party vice presidents were forced to retire early.
“You Hockry, Por Bun Sreu, and I resigned from the elder council and Yim Savy also resigned as vice presidents,” Mr Bunchin said.
He said that he worked hard for Funcinpec when Prince Ranariddh was receiving medical care in Bangkok.
“Maybe we could not lead the party well, so we resigned from our positions and Prince Ranariddh also stopped believing in us,” Mr Bunchin said.
Mr Bunchin declined to reveal Funcinpec’s internal issue.
“We are just disappointed about this problem,” Mr Bunchin said “I hope new Funcinpec leadership does not have dispute among themselves and need unity and solidarity.”
Nop Sothearith, Funcinpec’s newly appointed spokesman, said that the party had to reshuffle the positions of its members in order to comply with a decision made by Prince Ranariddh.
“There is no problem for Funcinpec party because it has just changed the positions of some senior officials,” he said. “I think that this is a decision by Prince Norodom Ranariddh.”
Mr Sothearith noted that Funcinpec still had several vice presidents, including Chap Nhalyvuth, Chhoeng Chamroeun, Say Hak, Sao Rany, and Heng Chantha.
Funcinpec has become less influential over the years as it won 43 seats in the 1998 election, 26 seats in 2003 and just two in 2008 before winning no seat in the 2013 election.
However, the party placed second in terms of nationwide votes during the July 29 election, securing 374,510 votes behind the ruling CPP with about 4.8 million. It also won no National Assembly seat.