Funcinpec president Prince Norodom Ranariddh has asked the Interior Ministry to reject the proposed logo of a new political party launched by his erstwhile ally Nhek Bun Chhay because it is nearly identical to a past logo of his own party.
Mr. Bun Chhay, who helped engineer Prince Ranariddh’s ouster from Funcinpec in 2006, announced the formation of his Khmer National United Party on Wednesday, frustrated with the way the prince had been running Funcinpec since his return last year, after it failed to win a single National Assembly seat the year before.
In a letter to Interior Minister Sar Kheng dated Wednesday, Prince Ranariddh complained that the name of Mr. Bun Chhay’s new party—which is still in the registration process—hued too closely to the words that make up Funcinpec, a French acronym, and that the logo looked too much like the one his party abandoned last year. He argued that the similarities put Mr. Bun Chhay in breach of the Law on Political Parties, which forbids new parties from imitating the names and logos of existing ones.
Officials at the Interior Ministry said the letter had been received and that a decision was pending.
During a press conference at Funcinpec’s headquarters in Phnom Penh on Thursday, Say Hak, the party’s secretary-general, said he expected the ministry to reject Mr. Bun Chhay’s proposed logo.
Mr. Hak said his party would soon hold a meeting to formally eject Mr. Bun Chhay as second vice president and did not fear his new political gambit.
“We are not concerned because he has already lead the party to zero,” he said.
Mr. Bun Chhay, who commanded Cambodia’s military under the Funcinpec-led government of the 1990s, vowed to stand firm.
“I will not change the logo,” he said, before hanging up on a reporter.
In his own salvo, Mr. Bun Chhay on Thursday sent the Interior Ministry a letter asking that the results of the January 19 Funcinpec party congress during which Prince Ranariddh was reappointed as president be invalidated. The letter accused the prince of packing the meeting with supporters from one of his prior, now defunct, parties.