F’pec and NRP Mull Alliance for May’s Election

Estranged royalist parties Fun­cinpec and the Norodom Ranar­iddh Party may be about to make up and form an alliance to contest next year’s first-ever district, provincial and municipal council elections, officials said.

The National Election Commit­tee will spend around $1.5 million to hold an indirect election May 17, which will see only members of commune councils vote to choose new district, municipal and provincial councilor positions.

NRP spokesman Suth Dina said his party and Funcinpec plan to discuss their cooperation strategy ahead of the May vote, in a bid to win more seats.

“The parties will discuss cooperation in the election. If we cooperate with each other, we will increase positions,” Suth Dina said.

Commune councilors from both parties, he said, will be instructed to vote for each other in communes where neither party has enough votes to win a seat.

The last commune council election in 2007 resulted in the CPP winning 7,993 commune council seats, the SRP winning 2,660; the NRP received 425 seats and Funcinpec 274.

Funcinpec Second Vice Presi­dent Prince Sisowath Sirirath confirmed that a cooperation deal was on the table, and that the parties are considering merging into one unified royalist party ahead of the next national election in 2013.

Funcinpec Secretary-General Nhiek Bun Chhay has been authorized to work with NRP Secretary-General You Hockry to draw up de­tails of the cooperation, Sisowath Sirirath said.

But the plan is still just at a “survey” stage, he added.

The plan comes on the heels of announced plans for a similar arrangement be­tween the Human Rights Party and Sam Rainsy Party.

CPP lawmaker Cheam Yeap said Thursday that such al­lian­ces were no threat to the ruling party.

“The CPP has won in many elections. We will try until we have [the Assembly’s full] 123 seats,” he said.

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