F’pec Members Call On Ranariddh to Return

A group of Funcinpec members urged party President Prince Norodom Ranariddh to return to Cambodia, claiming the royalists’ political power has weakened in his absence.

In a letter dated Dec 26 and signed by 126 Funcinpec members, the group addressed Prince Ranariddh, saying: “We would like to inform you that during your absence…we witnessed that some political figures are taking advantage of Funcinpec’s influence.”

Funcinpec, along with its Alli­ance of Democrats partner the Sam Rainsy Party, is in the middle of a five-month-long dispute with the CPP over the formation of the new government and National Assembly.

Since early November, however, the prince has been out of the country. Some party officials have said he is in France, but they have not said when he will return.

In his absence, Funcinpec Secretary-General Prince Noro­dom Sirivudh has attended tripartite negotiations on his behalf.

In the letter, the group complained that, although Funcinpec finished second in the July 27 elections with 26 seats, it is being overshadowed by the Sam Rain­sy Party, which won 24 seats.

Prime Minister Hun Sen has suggested the CPP would retain 60 percent of the positions in the new government, leaving Fun­cinpec and the Sam Rainsy Party with 20 percent each.

That would be a significant loss for Funcinpec, which now holds about 50 percent of the positions.

In an interview last week, Prince Sirivudh said some Fun­cinpec members might be reluctant to relinquish their positions to their Sam Rainsy Party counterparts, but the royalists were united in their support for a new tripartite government.

Funcinpec Deputy Secretary-General Ok Socheat said Tues­day the letter could indicate some party members may feel Prince Sirivudh has put the Sam Rainsy Party’s interests ahead of their own. But, he said, all of Funcin­pec’s decisions were those of Prince Ranariddh, not Prince Sir­i­vudh. (Additional reporting by Nhem Chea Bunly)


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