Pen Pal Predicts Hun Sen Electoral Victory

The outspoken pen pal of re­tired King Norodom Sihanouk predicted yet another victory for Prime Minister Hun Sen in the next national election, and ex­pressed skepticism that Fun­cin­pec could benefit from King No­ro­dom Si­ha­mo­ni’s popularity.

Many have speculated that the retired King himself writes Ruom Ritt’s letters, but the retired King has denied this.

“Everyone knows that in 2008 (or 2009), Samdech Hun Sen will com­pletely and alone control Cam­­bodia,” the retired king’s longtime friend Ruom Ritt wrote in a letter posted on Norodom Si­ha­nouk’s Web site dated Friday.

“Consequently, the ‘score’ to be ob­­tained by Funcinpec in the next legislative elections will depend on the degree of benevolence to the re­gard of this Fun­cin­pec of our Great Leader, Sam­dech Hun Sen,” he wrote.

As for what will become of the op­­position Sam Rainsy Party, he ad­­ded: “Let us consult some re­puted Astrologers!”

Responding to speculation that Fun­cinpec could boost its diminishing popularity by riding on the coattails of the new King Si­ha­mo­ni, Ruom Ritt said that “Fun­cin­pec is no more royalist than the other Khmer political Parties.”

He added that its attempts to close­ly align itself with the palace in the past “did not deter Fun­cin­pec from undergoing in the two previous legislative elections two successive defeats.”

At Funcinpec’s 24th anniversary last week, royalist President Prince No­rodom Ranariddh an­nounced he was confident the party could win the 2007 commune election and 2008 national election but did not outline how it would do so.

In a message dated Thursday, No­rodom Sihanouk said he had initially supported his son, Prince Ra­­­nariddh, to succeed him when he resigned last October.

“I said that the one who de­served the most to be my Suc­ces­sor as (constitutional) King of Cam­­bodia was…Norodom Ra­na-riddh,” he wrote.

Yet Prince Ranariddh de­clined, saying he was happy to continue as Funcinpec president and head of the National Assembly, and threw his support behind his bro­ther, now King Si­hamoni, No­ro­dom Sihanouk wrote.

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