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FUNCINPEC President Considers Removing One of His Party Member

Royalist Funcinpec party's president, Prince Norodom Ranariddh, is considering plan to have one of his party's members removed after this member verbally attacked him earlier this week.

The verbal attack was a surprise to FUNCINPEC officials. Although the prince did not mention the person he considers removing, but it is believed to be Funcinpec's top official, and Minister of Rural Development, Mr. Lu Lay Sreng.

Informing his party members in Prey Veng province Thursday, Prince Ranariddh says that he returned to unite his party, and does not wish to remove any member, but that if this official plans to celebrate by hosting a 50-table party, then he may just go ahead and fire this FUNCINPEC official.

Mr. Lu Lay Sreng cannot be reached for comment Thursday. However he expressed his discontentment with the prince Tuesday, during a press conference by seriously attacking the prince's leadership.

Mr. Lu Lay Sreng says that it will be difficult to remove him from the party, warning that his supporters will not like it. It is not known why Mr. Lu criticizes Funcinpec party leader after having served this party as a top official for so long.

Funcinpec's secretary general Nhek Bun Chhay has no comment on Mr. Lu Lay Sreng's position.

Opposition Sam Rainsy party's (SRP) acting general secretary, Meng Rita speculates that Prime Minister Hun Sen's Cambodian People's Party (CPP) support Mr. Lu Lay Sreng by encouraging him to attack the prince.

Government spokesman and Minister of Information, Khieu Kanharith dismisses this charge, saying the CPP will not benefit from Funcinpec party's internal conflict.

Prince Ranariddh's Funcinpec party faced internal rift after its leader left Cambodia and stayed abroad until his recent return