Parties Trade Barbs Over Defamatory Leaflets

The mysterious emergence of an unknown number of leaflets sharply critical of King Norodom Sihanouk opened yet another rift between the CPP and the Alli­ance of Democrats this weekend as the two sides blamed each other for distributing the pamphlets.

Several of the two-page leaflets, bearing the name “Republican Group,” were found strewn ac­ross roads in Daun Penh and Chamkar Mon districts Friday.

In a copy of one, the so-called Republican Group lambasted King Sihanouk, blaming him for encouraging the prolonged political deadlock. It also applauded the late General Lon Nol for toppling then-Prince Sihanouk from power in 1970.

The Constitution, however, states the King is inviolable .

Police were deployed to gather the leaflets and confiscated nine copies, Mann Chhoeurn, the municipality’s director of cabinet, said Sunday.

The discovery of the leaflets coincided with Funcinpec and the Sam Rainsy Party’s appeal Friday for King Sihanouk to return to Cambodia from his temporary residence in Pyongyang if Func­inpec and the CPP could not establish a new government.

CPP spokesman Khieu Kan­harith fingered members within the Sam Rainsy Party as authors of the leaflets Sunday.

“Some Sam Rainsy officials don’t like royalism,” he said, suggesting certain republicans within the opposition party did not want Funcinpec to join the CPP in the next government.

The Sam Rainsy Party counter-attacked, charging that the CPP was behind the distribution of the leaflets.                                                            “The dog that barks is the one who did it,” Eng Chhay Eang, the opposition party’s secretary-general, said Sunday. “The CPP is not happy with the King.”

Funcinpec spokesman Kassie Neou declined to comment. But the royalist party issued a statement on Saturday condemning the leaflets.

“This unjust insult to the King seriously abused the Con­stit­ution,” it said.

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