Funcinpec members from various ministries and provinces offered their party president Prince Norodom Ranariddh everything from flowers to water pumps for his birthday on Sunday, but he said support for his party was the greatest gift.
Even some former officials who have signed a letter seeking to air their grievances with Prince Ranariddh were in attendance, despite a request from the party that they apologize to their leader for offenses that he declined to enumerate prior to any meeting.
Prince Ranariddh, speaking at party headquarters, emphasized Funcinpec’s partnership with the CPP, saying “We must stop being anarchic and divided…before Prime Minister Hun Sen can help us.”
Last month, the prince told reporters that Funcinpec was proposing to merge with the CPP ahead of the 2008 election, though his Cabinet chief retracted the comments days later. Prince Ranariddh made no mention of merger plans on Sunday.
He said his father, retired King Norodom Sihanouk, predicted the party’s demise, but “Funcinpec will continue its mission.”
Chhim Seak Leng, Funcinpec’s deputy secretary-general, said Prince Ranariddh had decided to allow a group of disgruntled former Funcinpec governors and deputy governors to meet with him to ask his pardon, but no date has yet been set.
Former Battambang provincial deputy governor Prak Doeun said at least four of seven officials who signed a letter protesting their dismissals to Prince Ranariddh on Dec 29 attended the birthday party.
Uo Bun, ex-Kompong Speu province governor, said he was out of town but was working with other officials to get Prince Ranariddh a birthday present to be given at the meeting where they will apologize to the prince.
Tep Nonnory, one of two signatories to a similar letter Dec 31, said he had already apologized to the prince but was unable to go to the party.
Neither Prak Doeun, Uo Bun nor Tep Nonnory knew what they were asked to apologize for.