Funcinpec moved further into the political twilight this week when party officials began relocating from their longtime headquarters near the French Embassy to rented offices at a former medical clinic on Norodom Boulevard.
Monks prayed and musicians beat drums on Monday evening as officials uprooted a statue of retired King Norodom Sihanouk from the spacious grounds of Funcinpec’s former compound and transported it to the Royal Palace, officials said.
Funcinpec Secretary-General Nhiek Bun Chhay said Wednesday that Ly Chhuong, son-in-law of prominent CPP lawmaker Cheam Yeap, now has complete ownership of the royalist party’s headquarters.
“We are leaving in a state of suffering,” Funcinpec spokesman Nouv Sovathero said. “We cannot take back the current headquarters because Prince Norodom Ranariddh already sold it,” he said.
Norodom Sihanouk and King Norodom Sihamoni have agreed to store the retired King’s statue at the palace, Nhiek Bun Chhay said. The party decided not to keep the statue because it has no place to put it, he added.
Nhiek Bun Chhay said the party is paying $4,000 a month in rent for the new headquarters, which was formerly the Taiwanese-owned Jean Ay clinic and on Wednesday still bore an “Emergency Center” sign on the its bright blue-colored exterior wall.
Ly Chhuong was overseas on Wednesday and a member of staff at his company, Ly Chhuong Construction Import Export Co, Ltd, said the firm has no immediate plans for what to do with its new property next to the French Embassy.
Muth Channtha, spokesman for the Norodom Ranariddh Party, said the move was Funcinpec’s death knell.
“Funcinpec cannot grow any bigger. Funcinpec is finished politically,” he said.