Khmer Politics Soap Opera III: FUNCINPEC nibbled to death by ducksMarch 26, 2006
Wow, what a week: hirings, firings, surprise votes a few new names cropping up, old names moving out, and a potential new love interest has moved into the Soap Opera for a possible sex scandal.
Still, as Valery so famously noted “power without abuse loses its charm”
The week opened ordinarily enough with the King Father declining a request to get involved again. This time it was to help Prince Ranariddh regain his position as President of the National Assembly, claiming that he was retired and no longer had the power, or right, to intervene, the King Father’s refusal to bend the process to his will was issued from North Korea where the King Father is presumably studying new democratic models of government. The request did not come from Prince Ranariddh himself, but rather came from ‘a compatriot among the elite’ a phrase that the King Father has used before on his website, and has always amused me.
Another thing that amused me was the Cambodia (rarely) Daily (almost) article earlier in the week when a pair of their intrepid reporters did some ‘man on the street’ interviews about the thoughts of ordinary citizens on the political manoeuvrings; a select group of political observers and pundits were questioned, comprising of; a student, a tuk-tuk driver and a motodop.
Meanwhile, the nibbling to death by ducks of FUNCINPEC continued when the CPP Secretary of State for the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sport raising questions about funds for Federation Internationale de Football Association, which prompted a surprisingly swift and strong response from Khek Ravy the President of the football federation, who threaten defamation lawsuits against anyone who accused him of corruption – I wonder where he got that little tactic from? He also followed up his defence by writing a rather good letter to the editor of the Cambodia (rarely) Daily (almost) about the achievements of the football federation and its various sources of funding. Although most of this left me in the cold as I am a Rugger fan myself. The Phnom Penh Post skipped over this though, contenting itself to a few tired quotes from The Rainman and a few others.
But this week it was not just the CPP doing all the nibbling and sniping, my second favourite Princess, HRH Norodom Vacheara, rallied the royalist troops several times by speaking out in defence of FUNCINPEC members as well as going as far as to ask of CPP ‘who does not have mistresses?’ – although I am fairly sure that she was talking about CPP parliamentarians and not herself.
She also alluded to the fact that she considered these attacks against royals to be the first steps in trying to abolish the royal family. – a clear case of Royalism in this day and age of equality, inclusion and sensitivity.
Over at the Big House, CPP President Chea Sim was easily re-elected to his position as President of the Senate. It must have been a gay old time up at the Big House as even King Norodom Sihamoni attended to preside over the swearing in ceremony, oh what larks.
Elsewhere at the kiddies table, the Rainman Party had a whip round to hold a ceremony to mark the ninth anniversary of the infamous 1997 live grenade juggling competition. Victims and victims’ families would receive between US$50 and US$100. Although some in that group were not happy about the Rainman’s recent political game of musical chairs.
As these events and nibbles unfolded, the Little House on Norodom Boulevard turned up for its scheduled vote on Prince Sirivudh and H.E. Nhiek Bun Chhay removal from the Ministries of the Interior and Defence, only to find that an extra sacking had been added to the list, Prince Sirivudh was also getting canned from his role as Deputy Prime Minister – oops, what did I say last week, I really should be more careful!
After that small kafuffle CPP’s boy Heng Sam was elected to Prince Ranariddh’s former position as President of the National Assembly.
All of which lead to Prince Sirivudh resigning from the position of action President of FUNCINPEC – maybe he has a teaching job in France too?
The resignations did not stop there though, the Don Juan Sammoun, Secretary of State for Rural Development called it a day as well, but not without taking a final swipe at the Minister for Rural Development, H.E. Lulu Laysreng, it just makes you want to kick your heels up and shout, come on everybody now shout…
So with the Royalist Party busy snapping at each other heels like nervous chinchilla’s on a drunken night in Tijuana, the CPP and the Iron Man even had a couple of days off nibbling them like ducks. Although they did start the grouse shooting season early by picking off some of the lower ranks, a swift removal of a few FUNCINPEC Governors and Vice Governors; Phnom Penh, Siem Reap, Kandal, Banteay Meanchey. The CPP network of senior staff has never been so solid, or so indebted to the Big Man. People living in Phnom Penh often overlook just how powerful provincial governors are, within their fiefdoms, they have extraordinary powers and are perfectly placed to interact with commune and village chiefs – thus the electorate.
Yet again, throughout the week everyone’s favourite Princess Vacheara, was the only one talking about Party unity, unfortunately, nobody was listening. This might be just as well, since she switched songs halfway through the week to start singing about hidden republican conspiracies within FUNCINPEC. Ah, well, I had high hopes for her, however, like Queen Boudicca’s rebellion against Governor Gaius Suetonius Paulinus and the Roman occupation of England; beautiful, brave, imaginative, yet ultimately flawed.
All of which has me begging the question, where is the leadership? While Prince Ranariddh is kicking back in the French countryside, his Party is infighting, squabbling and losing ground almost by the hour. Political parties, like any large organisation, need strong and decisive leadership; decisions need to be made, strategies envisioned then enacted, not too mention the fact that loyalty is often a lot stronger face to face. Surely all these French speaking, French educated, Royals know the phrase coup d’tat? Or they learnt a little French history about, say, Louis the XVI?
Finally, in just about every article written this week, various spokesmen from the Neutral and Impartial Committee for Free Elections in Cambodia have given quotes; I doubt that they have ever been so popular over at NaICfFEiC outside of an election year. I bet those boys really know how to party on a Friday night.
Monster Raving Fish Party Party