Though Prince Norodom Ranariddh has been pushing to come back to Cambodia for well more than a year, his imminent return is promising to be a low-key affair, according to the Norodom Ranariddh Party.
Last week, Prime Minister Hun Sen confirmed that a royal amnesty would be sought for the prince, who has been living primarily in Malaysia since leaving the country to avoid an 18-month sentence in a breach of trust case.
On Sunday, the NRP revealed that the prince would be returning Sunday, but to Siem Reap, not Phnom Penh.
“He has already booked a ticket,” said NRP spokesman Suth Dina.
According to Suth Dina, the prince will participate in Buddhist ceremonies related to the ongoing Pchum Ben festival and would only return to Phnom Penh to address the media Oct 2, days after he is expected to touch down at Siem Reap International Airport.
“The prince just wants to make it quiet,” Suth Dina said of the reason why the NRP leader will avoid coming straight to the capital.
It is expected that an amnesty from King Norodom Sihamoni will be issued following the formation of the government, which is scheduled for Sept 25, Suth Dina said.
He added that party officials will greet their leader upon his arrival, but there will be no big ceremony to mark the occasion.
The prince fled Cambodia in January 2007 not long after his former party, Funcinpec, filed a suit against him for breach of trust over the sale of the party’s former headquarters in Phnom Penh.
In March of that year the Phnom Penh court handed down the 18-month prison sentence, which has since been upheld by the Appeal and Supreme courts.
Funcinpec Second Deputy President Prince Sisowath Sirirath reiterated Sunday that his party has no qualms about Prince Ranariddh returning without having served any jail time.