>Funcinpec officials consider defecting, merging with NRP

>Mr. Nhiek Bunchhay.

Written by Meas Sokchea
Tuesday, 28 October 2008
Phnom Penh Post

In the wake of the July 27 polls, many Funcinpec officials are displeased with their party’s performance and are planning to jump ship

THE stream of disgruntled Funcinpec members leaving their party shows no sign of abating, with some 60 officials exploring a possible merger with – or defection to – the rival Norodom Ranariddh Party last week alone.

“Around 50 or 60 officials from Funcinpec came to the NRP … to lobby the Prince to lead Funcinpec, or alternatively come and join his party,” NRP spokesman Suth Dina said, adding that the Prince would not lead Funcinpec.

Having spent large sums of money contesting the July 27 election, many Funcinpec officials are angry that they have no role in the coalition government, and their thoughts have turned to their former leader, Prince Ranariddh, said Suth Dina, adding that the disgruntled royalists came from all across the country and all levels of the party apparatus.

The NRP has an “open door” policy and officials have appealed to all NRP members not to be “narrow minded” about Funcinpec officials who want to join, Suth Dina said.

Ok Socheat, a Funcinpec adviser, acknowledged that there were some officials from Funcinpec who had been to see the NRP but said it was because they were trying to encourage the two parties to merge.

Officials who currently have no positions are eager for the parties to merge, but those with positions are more reluctant as they worry their positions could be lost, said Ok Sokcheat, who declined to name any of the officials involved.

Possible merger?
Funcinpec’s Secretary General and Deputy Prime Minister Nhek Bun Chhay told the Post he did not know of any Funcinpec officials who had defected or joined the NRP. Standard procedure is that officials hand in a letter of resignation, but he said he has not received any such letters.

“It is true that some officials are angry. But what can we do? Our election results give us what we have,” he said.
Funcinpec’s leaders are also considering a possible merger with the NRP at the urging of some party members, he added.

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