Funcinpec Adviser Says Protests Are Possible

Amid fears of post-election violence, Funcinpec is considering organizing protests against the outcome of Sunday’s general election, which the party has rejected as a “fraud,” an adviser to party leader Prince Norodom Ranariddh said Wednesday.

Noranarith Anandayath said he did not know when Funcinpec would begin launching protests, but said that the royalist party was mulling the option.

“That is an option because according to the Constitution, it is our right to carry out civil disobedience if it is peaceful,” he said.

According to preliminary re­sults from the National Election Com­­mit­tee, the party has won 26 of the 123 seats in the National Assem­bly, while the ruling CPP leads with 73 seats. That is a sharp decline from the 43 seats won by Funcinpec in the 1998 election.

Funcinpec officials denied the party is losing voter support. They also objected to rumors of a crack in the party’s solidarity, as Funcinpec representatives Nhiek Bun Chhay and Nan Sy issued statements backing their leader.

“We all express our loyalty and support to Funcinpec and the Prince. We are unified around the Prince to lead this royalist party,” Nan Sy stated.

At a news conference Tuesday, Funcinpec and the opposition Sam Rainsy Party announced they would create a joint committee to consult with each other on further actions. Both parties have stated they are not willing to enter a coalition government with CPP Prime Minister Hun Sen.

Funcinpec lawmaker Prin­cess Nor­odom Vacheara said Wednes­day she was pleased with the emergence of the joint committee.

She said Funcinpec may consider a new proposal from the Sam Rainsy Party, which would demote Hun Sen to the president of the National Assembly and appoint Prince Ranariddh to the president of the Senate.

This would make the prince the acting head of state when the king is out of the country. The plan would also make Sam Rainsy a deputy prime minister and CPP President Chea Sim the prime minister.

“That formula is not bad, but I don’t believe it’s possible because Prime Minister Hun Sen stated [Wednesday] it’s very clear that he is not leaving,” the princess said.

Prince Ranariddh is expected to meet top Funcinpec officials Thurs­day morning to discuss the election results.

 

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