Prince Norodom Chakrapong, who on several occasions quit Funcinpec and was once implicated in an alleged coup attempt, has now been appointed to the newly created position of “general inspector” of the royalist party, Funcinpec officials said Sunday.
Chhim Seak Leng, the party’s deputy secretary-general, said Prince Chakrapong’s new post was established “to help strengthen the party.”
Since the prince rejoined Funcinpec following the 2003 elections, he has received much support within the party and has met with no opposition to his new appointment, Chhim Seak Leng said.
“We are united, faithful and love each other,” he said.
Chhim Seak Leng said the appointment was ordered by party President Prince Norodom Ranariddh.
Funcinpec spokesman Chea Chanboribo agreed Sunday that Prince Chakrapong’s return to a high-level position within the party was a sign of party unity.
“This unity would gather royalists’ votes together as only one royalist party,” he said.
Prince Chakrapong, the half-brother of Prince Ranariddh, split from Funcinpec before the 1993 national election.
He was accused—together with Sin Sen, then the Ministry of Interior secretary of state, and former interior minister Sin Song—of plotting a failed coup in 1994 to topple the government of then-co-prime ministers Prince Ranariddh and Hun Sen.
Prince Chakrapong went into exile after being accused but was later granted a pardon by his father, retired King Norodom Sihanouk.
He returned to Cambodia to rejoin Funcinpec, only to quit again to form his own royalist party, the Norodom Chakrapong Praleung Khmer party, ahead of the 2003 election.
The party won no seats in the election, and the prince again returned to Funcinpec.
In a statement last week, Chea Chanboribo denied a report in the Khmer-language press that Prince Chakrapong was replacing Prince Norodom Sirivudh, currently Funcinpec’s secretary-general, as well as the co-Minister of Interior and a deputy prime minister.
“We announce that the article is completely not true,” Chea Chanboribo wrote on May 10. “So far there is no sign of a plan to remove Deputy Prime Minister and Secretary-General Prince Norodom Sirivudh.”