Prime Minister Hun Sen fired the Funcipec Minister of Tourism Tuesday and replaced him with a member of the ruling party, in a sector that is fast becoming one of Cambodia's most important.
Lay Prohas, minister since 2003, was replaced by Thong Khon, a Tourism secretary of state, according to a letter sent by Hun Sen to the National Assembly.
Tourism, driven by an increasing number of visitors to Angkor Wat, is competing with garment manufacturing as Cambodia's main economic driver. The minister's post had been held by two successive members of Funcinpec, the Cambodian People's Party coalition partner.
Funcinpec spokesman Neou Sovatharo said the party was suffering from mistakes made by its former president, Prince Norodom Ranariddh, who fled Cambodia last year.
He blamed the prince for supporting the passage of a law that enabled Lay Prohas' removal, a claim a spokesman for the prince denied.