The Norodom Ranariddh Party’s spokesman announced Sunday that his party will no longer entertain the possibility of a united royalist movement, claiming Funcinpec betrayed the NRP by poaching its members.
Informal discussions between officials from both parties have been ongoing for several months regarding a merger of the two parties and securing Prince Ranariddh amnesty were he to return to Cambodia from abroad, officials said. Last week, however, Prince Ranariddh advisers Ok Socheat and Serei Kosal joined Funcinpec after defecting from the NRP.
NRP spokesman Muth Channtha said such defections show the two parties are clearly not approaching discussions with a common goal in mind, adding that a merger is now off the table.
“Funcinpec has no loyalty and integrity. While they were negotiating they convinced our party members to join with Funcinpec,” Muth Channtha claimed.
Further proof of the parties’ irreconcilable differences is the fact that Funcinpec has not withdrawn its breach of trust lawsuit against Prince Ranariddh, which led to the prince being sentenced in absentia to 18 months earlier this year over the sale of Funcinpec’s headquarters, he said.
Funcinpec spokesman Nouv Sovathero said it was not an act of betrayal for his party to accept Ok Socheat and Serei Kosal.
“Those people have defected from the NRP,” he said. “We cannot let them go to the Sam Rainsy Party or the Human Rights Party.”
He said Funcinpec’s offer for Prince Ranariddh to return to his former position as party president still stands.
“The football is by the prince’s feet and whether he kicks it or not is his right,” he said.
“He should look at his face in the mirror and consider.”
Ok Socheat said that he would continue to work to ensure Prince Ranariddh’s return.
“It is not the prince’s idea [to close discussions]. It is Muth Channtha’s idea,” Ok Socheat claimed.
“We will continue to push to talk and make sure that [Prince Ranariddh] can return to Cambodia,” he added.