Funcinpec President Prince Norodom Ranariddh on Sunday warned the leaders of the CNRP to call off their “culture of dialogue” with the ruling CPP, which he said was an attempt by the opposition party’s leaders to trick their supporters.
Prince Ranariddh, who retook the reigns of the royalist party in January after being ousted in 2006, on Saturday told hundreds of young supporters on Phnom Penh’s Koh Pich island that CNRP President Sam Rainsy and Vice President Kem Sokha were insincere in their claims that dialogue would pave the way for change.
“I would like to send a message to His Excellency Sam Rainsy and His Excellency Kem Sokha: Please stop using ‘dialogue.’ Because this is a trick that they are using to cheat people,” said Prince Ranariddh, whose party slowly deteriorated after winning the 1993 national election and agreeing to share power with the CPP.
“I wanted to remind His Excellency Sam Rainsy and His Excellency Kem Sokha because I agreed to do this [cooperate with the CPP] because I wanted to serve the nation,” the prince said, going on to praise his father’s efforts to work with the ruling party.
“We had won the election, but we shared power because I wanted to bring peace to the people,” he said. “I think that it’s not only Mr. Sam Rainsy and Mr. Kem Sokha who have established a culture of dialogue—King Father Norodom Sihanouk did it better than this.”
Expounding upon the prince’s comments Sunday, Funcinpec spokesman Nhep Bun Chin noted that the CNRP first took a conciliatory stance toward the CPP when seven opposition lawmakers were in prison.
“I just want to ask Mr. Sam Rainsy and Mr. Kem Sokha: Why not begin dialogue after the [July 2013] election? Why did they just begin talking about dialogue when their party’s members were faced with the court case?” Mr. Bun Chin said.
“I can say that the CNRP faced political deadlock, then they turned to use dialogue because they had no other choice to solve their problem,” he added.
CNRP spokesman Yem Ponhearith said Sunday that the success of the opposition party’s strategy would be seen in future elections.
“The CNRP is increasing its members and most of them have a strong allegiance to the party,” he said. “So I think that the people probably have a clear understanding, and they will join together to solve the problem in the next election.”