Prince Says He Will Give Up Assembly Post

Funcinpec leader Prince Noro­dom Ranariddh confirmed on Wednesday he is willing to step down from his position as president of the National Assembly in favor of representing his party as a parliamentarian.

“During the past five years, I have not been happy with the role as president [of the Assem­bly] so I have to choose between being the Assembly president and a regular parliamentarian,” the prince told reporters.

He added: “I’m not quitting to prepare to take the throne, but I’m preparing my mouth to question new ministers and the new prime minister.”

Honorary CPP President Heng Samrin said July 30 that he will serve as Assembly president in the upcoming mandate. The longtime party stalwart served as Assembly first vice president during the previous government mandate.

Funcinpec officials on Tuesday said Prince Ranariddh would continue as president of the party but will transfer the top Funcinpec government position to party Secre­tary-General Prince Noro­dom Sirivudh if the party enters a coalition government.

The prince told reporters on Wednesday he wanted to take a lower position in the Assembly so that he can take a more active role in issues such as border controls, immigration and civil service salaries, which he said he could not do as Assembly president.

“I’m prepared to sit in the Na­tion­al Assembly and speak up and to avoid criticism that says I never oppose the government and that I am not honest,” he said. “People say I only criticize and raise major issues during elec­tion campaigns, so I have to speak out from the beginning of the term.”

Although Funcinpec officials have rejected preliminary results from the July 27 general election as fraudulent, Prince Ranariddh re­peated that his party will not launch any protests.

In 1998, weeks of post-election demonstrations in Phnom Penh ended in bloodshed with dozens of protesters killed.

“Funcinpec is definitely clear that we will not hold any demonstrations, but we will start the ne­gotiations as soon as possible to work out [a potential political deadlock],” the prince said.

Opposition party leader Sam Rainsy, however, said last week his party would consider organizing street demonstrations if its election complaints were not properly addressed. But, speaking at a news conference on Wed­nesday, he said no protests would be staged until after the election process ends, which includes any appeals to the Con­stitutional Council.

Meanwhile, Funcinpec officials said they will file official complaints today with the Con­sti­tutional Council against the National Election Committee, claim­ing the election body had failed to uphold its mandate to be unbiased.

Funcinpec spokes­man Kassie Neou, however, declined to comment on what the party hopes to resolve through the com­­plaints process. He did not say whether Funcinpec would call for a re-count or a re-vote.

“It’s up to the Constitutional Council to make a judgment. I don’t speculate what will happen,” Kassie Neou said.

According to NEC documents, a re-election would take place up to eight days after the Consti­tutional Council fails to resolve complaints.

(Additional reporting by Phann Ana, David Kihara and Wency Leung)

 

Related Stories

Latest News

The Weekly DispatchA new weekly newsletter from The Cambodia Daily delivering news, analysis and opinion to your inbox. Published every Friday at 11:30am. Sign up today.