Prince Slams Daily for Story on Candidates

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.”

 

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