King Calls Palace Minister a CPP Partisan

King Norodom Sihanouk tarred the Royal Palace minister as a CPP partisan in a statement Monday.

In the statement titled “Text for History,” the King wrote: “In ef­fect, Kong Som Ol was, upon my 1991 return to Cambodia, named minister of the Royal Palace by Hun Sen’s government, in addition to his position as vice prime min­ister” in the government.

“I always knew that Kong Som Ol was not a Sihanoukist and very anti-SRN,” the King wrote, referring to Sangkum Reastr Ni­yum, the king’s royal government of the 1950s and 1960s. But, the letter continued, as the “father of the nation and of national reconciliation,” it would be improper to reject the nomination.

In the remainder of the letter, the King distances himself further from the CPP. Though he ac­knowledged that the party paid for the restoration of the Royal Pa­lace and returned to him a com­­plex in Chamkar Mon district (now used by the Senate), residences in Bat­tam­bang, Siem Reap and Kep, and the house where he was born, the King said, “As for finances, I have accepted nothing from the CPP or from Hun Sen’s government.”

The statement comes a few days after Julio Jeldres, the King’s of­ficial biographer, wrote in the Asia Times that Kong Som Ol had tried to “trick” the King into opening the National Assembly, which  would have conferred great­er le­gitimacy on the ceremony at­tend­ed only by CPP parliamentarians.

A royal Cabinet official, Mini­stry of Information Secretary of State and CPP spokesman Khieu Kanharith, and Jel­dres all declined to comment on the King’s letter.

In the three-page letter, the King also defends his withdrawal from public life on account of illnesses. Despite these impediments, the King’s letter beams with confidence about his place in history. “Cambodia’s little people have never wanted for intelligence,” he wrote.

(Additional reporting by Kuch Naren)


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