Chittara Aims To Unite France’s Royalists: Thomico

Prince Sisowath Thomico’s brother Prince Sisowath Chittara is organizing a political movement in France dedicated to raising support for the Cambodian monarchy, Prince Thomico said Sunday.

Prince Chittara’s Social Royal Khmer Movement intends to drum up support among French Cambodians for royalist parties in Cambodia, Prince Thomico said.

“[Prince Chittara] is forming the movement to unite royalists in France and will join with royalist forces in Cambodia,” such as Funcinpec and Prince Thomico’s newly formed Sangkum Jatiniyum Front Party, Prince Thomico said.

Prince Thomico added that his brother is not planning to come and live in Cambodia.

Retired King Norodom Siha­nouk, who has voiced displeasure at Prince Thomico’s political ambitions, has already thrown cold water on Prince Chittara’s project.

In a message to Prince Chittara dated Sept 22 and posted on his Web site, Norodom Sihanouk asked him not to create the movement. “Already Thomico has managed to drive me crazy with his ‘front’(?) or ‘Party,’” the retired King wrote.

He warned Prince Chittara that if he forges ahead with his own movement, “I shall be plunged into an ‘additional sadness.’”

Prince Thomico declined to say what kind of support he is expecting to receive from his brother’s fledgling movement.

CPP lawmaker Cheam Yeap said he welcomed the movement, but added that his party also respects the throne.

“Prime Minister Hun Sen and the CPP already respect the monarchy,” he said. However, Cheam Yeap said that if the government decided it no longer wanted the monarchy, it would be able to abolish it.

Om Yentieng, an adviser to Prime Minister Hun Sen, said 100 more royalist movements would not concern him because they would not pose a threat to the ruling CPP.

Koul Panha, director of the Committee for Free and Fair Elections, said that the movement in France could be a boost to Prince Thomico’s SJF, but added that it was too soon to say if any new royalist movement would enjoy success at the ballot box.

“Experience has shown that people with good reputations can still lose elections,” he said.

 

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