The Khmer National United Party will have an internal meeting today to elect a new party president after Nhek Bun Chhay, who remains jailed on drug production charges, resigned.
Mr Bunchhay, formerly the co-defence minister in the Funcinpec-CPP coalition government and most recently an adviser to Prime Minister Hun Sen, recently had his home raided and was formally charged with conspiring to produce drugs in a case dating back to 2007.
Mr Bunchhay’s fortunes began to change in June, when Mr Hun Sen learned of a phone call he made to the opposition CNRP prior to the commune elections, in which he allegedly promised supporters of his fledgling Khmer National United Party would casts votes for the CNRP.
This led to the Prime Minister stripping Mr Bunchhay of his advisor role, and then a purging of nearly 20 KNUP officials from government posts.
Run Meatra, KNUP spokesman, yesterday said the party will have an internal meeting today to discuss an open letter Mr Chhay released Wednesday night and the selection of a new leader.
“Will have a meeting to select a new party leader,” he said. “I think our party will survive even without Nhek Bun Chhay.”
Mr Chhay released an open letter Wednesday night, expressing his regret for the ill-fortunes his actions brought upon his party.
“I would respectfully like to express, with honesty and dedication, all the mistakes incorrectly committed against Mr Hun Sen, president of the CPP, which as a consequence damaged the interests of the KNUP,” he said in the later. “I hope that all of you will understand and pardon my wrong actions, and again I would like to announce my honest apology.”
“For the future destiny of the party, I ask members to make all your decisions according to democratic ways,” he added.
Lu Lay Sreng, another former deputy prime minister and a former senior official of the royalist Funcinpec Party who fought alongside Mr Bunchhay on the Thai-Cambodia border in the 1980s, yesterday said Mr Hun Sen should pardon Mr Chhay.
“The Prime Minister should think about the long working relationship he shared with him and pardon him,” he said, before suggesting that KNUP is going to fold.
“From my point of view, I think that Nhek Bun Chhay’s party should fold because his members are poor, and without Nhek Bun Chhay they don’t have financial support to operate the party,” he said.