The Norodom Ranariddh Party on Wednesday responded with allegations of defamation to a statement issued Tuesday by a youth group that chastised Prince Ranariddh as an ineffectual leader.
The newly re-formed Democratic Front of Khmer Students and Intellectuals on Tuesday stated that they were considering removing their support for the prince because he was “inactive and lacks of clear strategy” and had abandoned Cambodia’s youth.
In 2006, the NRP was officially formed when the Khmer Front Party—a creation of the Democratic Front of Khmer Students and Intellectuals—changed its name to the NRP.
On Wednesday, the NRP issued a statement of its own, accusing the front of having “twisted the truth and [of] defamation,” and floated the possibility of legal action if the prince’s reputation is threatened.
NRP responded that Prince Ranariddh had appointed young people as party leaders.
The statement also attempted to cast the prince’s September decision to leave politics as following the will of the people.
“The prince is a democrat who has served the country and the people for almost 30 years; the Prince can’t oppose the people’s decision. The Prince respects Cambodian voters. In this context, Samdech Krom Preah didn’t abandon the youths or the NRP’s supporters as alleged,” the NRP statement read.
It went on to state that as Prince Ranariddh has now been appointed chief adviser to King Norodom Sihamoni, “any attempts to encourage the prince to return to politics will affect the prince’s neutrality.”
Democratic Front spokesman Kim Sok said the front won’t accept the NRP’s explanation, and added that far from wanting the prince to return, the front wants him to stop interfering with the workings of the NRP.
The front had issued its statement, he said, because Prince Ranariddh had earlier this month allegedly ordered the removal of NRP board of directors member Meas Sokhun because she had an argument with the prince’s spokesman, Chea Chanboribo.
Chea Chanboribo denied that he had an argument with Meas Sokhun that led to her dismissal.
NRP spokesman Suth Dina could not be reached for comment.