Prince: F’pec Will Attend Parliament

Funcinpec President Prince Norodom Ranariddh on Wednes­day accepted King Norodom Sihanouk’s invitation to attend the inaugural National Assembly meeting, just days after the party’s Alliance of Democrats partner said it would not attend the swearing-in ceremony.

In a letter addressed to the King, Prince Rana­­riddh said Funcinpec lawmakers were prepared to show up “whenever the meeting has enough members of parliament as defined in the Constitution.”

The Constitution requires that the Assembly consist of at least 120 participants.

“Even though the Funcinpec party does not recognize the results of the election, to maintain peace and political stability, I would like to inform Your Majesty that all 26 Funcinpec elected parliamentary candidates are ready to attend the inauguration and swearing-in ceremony under the Royal Supreme presiding of Your Majes­ty,” the prince wrote.

On Tuesday, the King issued a statement saying he would not open the Assembly, a day after opposition leader Sam Rainsy said newly elected lawmakers from his party would not be present.

Sam Rainsy said his party refused to recognize the results of the July 27 election and demanded a recount in Svay Rieng and Kompong Thom provinces.

Funcinpec officials responded by saying they supported their partner’s decision.

Sam Rainsy Party spokesman Ung Bun-Ang on Wednesday said Prince Ranariddh’s acceptance letter did not change the Alliance of Democrats’ vow to work together, nor did it withdraw Funcinpec’s support from his party’s decision.

“If you read it carefully, the letter did not clearly say it does not support Sam Rainsy Party’s stance,” he said. “It doesn’t change anything. We still stick together.”

He said Funcinpec officials consulted with the Sam Rainsy Party before drawing up the letter, which he said was delivered to the King on Wednesday.

Meanwhile, CPP spokesman Khieu Kanharith said CPP parliamentary candidates would sign a petition asking the King to persuade Sam Rainsy Party lawmakers to attend the Assembly meeting, which the Ministry of the Royal Palace set for Sept 27. Under the Constitution, the As­sembly must convene within 60 days of the general election.

Khieu Kanharith said there will be no legal repercussions for members who do not attend the Assembly meeting. But, he said, “If you do not follow the Consti­tu­tion, it means the 1993 Consti­tution is not valid.”


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