Funcinpec Asks Ranariddh To Return as Leader

A day after officials announced Prince Sisowath Thomico’s decision to join Funcinpec, the party July 3 urged its former president Prince Norodom Ranariddh to re­turn to his former position as its leader.

Lu Laysreng, Funcinpec first vice president, said Funcinpec will convene a congress to reinstate Prince Ranariddh as party president, provided he first accepts the position of historical president.

“There are no party members who don’t want [Prince Ranariddh] to be the president,” Lu Laysreng said by telephone, comparing the split between Funcinpec and the prince to a reconcilable rift between a married couple.

“When a wife and husband are divorced, the children are split between the father and mother. When the couple reunite it is good,” he said.

Prince Ranariddh immediately rejected an offer of becoming historical president after Funcinpec ousted him at a hastily convened party congress Oct 18, and replaced him with Keo Puth Ras­mey. The prince then established his own Noro­dom Ranar­iddh Party.

Prince Thomico’s defection to Fun­cinpec follows just one month after he merged his Sangkum Jatiniyum Front Party with the NRP.

NRP spokesman Muth Chann­tha said Prince Ranariddh has not yet decided whether to accept the invitation to lead his old party, but added that the current terms are undignified.

“We don’t recognize a no dignity solution,” he said. “If there is a good solution, the prince will consider it.”

Funcinpec President Keo Puth Rasmey called Funcinpec’s invitation to his predecessor “informal,” and said the party is still in discussions with the prince.

“Funcinpec opens the door for the prince,” he said, though he declined to discuss the possibility of giving up his position.

Prince Ranariddh’s adviser Ok Socheat said he would support the prince in returning to Funcinpec.

“We want to reconcile and re­unite,” he said.

“I hope that if we are royalists, we can reunite.”


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