Princess: Union of Democrats Torpedoed

Funcinpec has rejected a proposal to join a “union” with demo­crats from other political parties as a means to defeat Prime Min­ister Hun Sen’s ruling CPP in the July 27 general election, a Funcin­pec statement said.

However, Funcinpec lawmaker Princess Norodom Vacheara, who floated the “union of democrats” idea last week, said she would not abandon the possibility of broad political cooperation to defeat Hun Sen.

The outspoken princess also said Monday that the royalist party’s rejection of the union followed a statement last week by the opposition Sam Rainsy Party that effectively scuttled any hope of a detente with Funcinpec.

“The Funcinpec party finds it un­necessary, and is unwilling, to entertain notions of forming such a union,” the Funcinpec general secretariat said in a statement re­ceived Friday.

“We are already a grand movement of liberal, patriotic royalists and democrats,” the secretariat said.

Though rejecting a union, the secretariat did say Funcinpec was willing to accept democrats from other parties who wished to join its ranks.

“[The union] was my idea, and I am still convinced of it,” a defiant Princess Vacheara said.

“[If] we let the CPP win with a large majority in 2003 it will be very dangerous for Cambodia,” said the princess, who has previously likened the Hun Sen government to a dictatorship.

Both the Funcinpec and Sam Rainsy parties are dividing the “democratic voice” and would likely not win a majority in the election, the princess warned.

“The political parties pretend not to understand that,” said the princess, adding that Sam Rainsy worked against the union by re­leasing a statement last week that was insulting to Prince Norodom Ranariddh.

“[Sam Rainsy] didn’t want such a union either,” said the princess, adding that opposition newspapers had also criticized her.

Sam Rainsy denied Monday he intentionally worked to undermine the union, and said his letter did not influence events.

Prince Ranariddh is not willing to break his alliance with the CPP, Sam Rainsy said.

“I also feel unhappy about the failure to unite democrats,” he said.

Princess Vacheara is the half-sister of King Norodom Sihanouk and sister of Funcinpec Secretary-General Prince Norodom Siri­vudh. She remains a member of Funcinpec, and says she will stick with the royalists.

“I will continue to keep my idea to gather all democratic voices from every political party,” she said.

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