Prince Forms Group To Handle Affairs, Lawsuit

Prince Norodom Ranariddh has formed a 27-member administrative group to take care of his day-to-day af­fairs and bring a lawsuit against Fun­cin­pec Secretary-Ge­ne­ral Nhiek Bun Chhay, officials said Wed­nesday.

Called the Royal Office of Sam­dech Krom Preah, the group was for­­med Sunday to take ca­re of the prince’s ad­mini­stra­ti­ve, legal and diplomatic du­ties, said Nuth Nin Doeun, of­fi­ce deputy chief.

“We had our first meeting to organi­ze our administration since Prince No­ro­dom Ranariddh was ou­sted at the con­gress [on Oct 18],” Nuth Nin Doeun said.

The office is headed by former E­du­­­ca­tion Ministry secretary of state Pok Than, and former senior minister Se­rei Kosal, both of whom, along with for­mer secretary of state for the Mini­stry of Tourism Nuth Nin Doeun, we­re recently fired from their government positions.

Ok Socheat, public affairs ad­vi­ser to Prin­ce Ranariddh, said the new of­fice is needed to fight aga­inst the prin­ce’s ou­s­ting and to pre­­pare for his return to Cam­bo­­dia in coming weeks.

Ok Socheat said the office’s law­yers will file a lawsuit today against Nhiek Bun Chhay accusing him of de­ceiving Funcinpec members by chan­ging a commune election mee­­ting to a congressional meeting to vote the prince out of office.

“We try to show the people that the justice system over here could pro­­vide justice for Prince Ra­na­riddh, the son of the [retired] King,” Ok Socheat said.

Nhiek Bun Chhay said Prince Ra­na­riddh is free to do as he chooses. “I have no reaction,” he said.

Nouv Sovathero, Funcinpec’s new spokesman, said he was not concerned by the proposed lawsuit and new office.“Our congress and party has appointed a new president on Oct 18 and both the CPP and the SRP recognize our party,” he said.

“If the congress was illegal then why did the president of the CPP Samdech Chea Sim and his excellency Sam Rainsy, president of the SRP, write letters to welcome our congress and our new president?”

(Additional reporting by James Welsh)




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