Funcinpec President Prince Norodom Ranariddh blasted the media on Wednesday for being “unfair” after The Cambodia Daily published a story on the prince’s preliminary choice of party candidates for the upcoming 2003 national election.
“Journalists are not fair in their article,” the prince told reporters on Wednesday outside the National Assembly. “I don’t understand why the party gets more and more criticism—you only report on bad things, but never the good ones about me. Don’t you have any justice in you?”
The prince was reacting to an article published on Wednesday in The Cambodia Daily that said Prince Ranariddh chose 23 allegedly wealthy and mostly unpopular members of Funcinpec to hold executive positions within the party to oversee provinces. The positions are often the first step in becoming a party candidate for the province they manage.
“I just signed onto the appointment proposed by the party—I did not hand-pick anyone,” the prince said, denying that he “arbitrarily” picked the 23 potential candidates.
Prince Ranariddh said, however, that he has made one change to the proposed 23 candidates. Kieng Vang, one of the key resistance members who demanded that embattled co-Minister of Interior You Hockry be removed from his ministerial position was replaced by Sina Than, an allegedly wealthier Funcinpec official, the prince said.
On Tuesday, an unsigned Funcinpec statement criticized The Cambodia Daily for a story published on Monday which quoted high-ranking Funcinpec officials who faulted Prince Ranariddh for urging RCAF Deputy Commander-in-Chief Khan Savoeun to ask Prime Minister Hun Sen to support his candidacy for co-Minister of Interior.
Despite the prince’s statements, Funcinpec officials continued disparaging remarks on Wednesday, saying that the Prince is losing control of Funcinpec and their patience with the party president was waning.
Funcinpec lawmaker Keo Remy, who was left off the potential candidate list, showed his disdain on Wednesday by refusing to meet with the prince for a discussion.
“I don’t want to meet the prince,” Keo Remy said. “He never talks with us unless he has bad things to raise up with me.”