Princess Norodom Vacheara, one of Funcinpec’s most outspoken lawmakers and King Norodom Sihanouk’s half-sister, returned to Phnom Penh Monday after a five-month stay in France for medical treatment.
Appearing healthy, Princess Vacheara said, “I had been feeling very sick, but I’m better now.”
A strong proponent of Funcinpec and the Sam Rainsy Party’s now-defunct Alliance of Democrats, Princess Vacheara was absent for the final months of the political deadlock.
At Phnom Penh International Airport Monday, she declined immediate comment about her party’s decision to join the CPP for a third coalition government.
But, she said: “When there’s something wrong, even in my party, I speak out. Even with my ministers, I speak out.”
She added: “Let me rest and tomorrow I will speak out again.”
The 58-year-old said doctors had recommended that she stay in France for at least one year to recover from her illness. But, she said, “I can’t wait to start work.”
Funcinpec officials on Monday said Princess Vacheara had been suffering from a brain tumor and had undergone surgery in France.
Princess Vachera was received at the airport by a group of well-wishers from her party. Her younger brother Prince Norodom Sirivudh, Funcinpec’s Secretary-General and now co-Minister of Interior, was not present at the time.
Ahead of the 2003 national election, Princess Vacheara had urged Funcinpec to merge with the Sam Rainsy Party in a bid to defeat the CPP at the polls. But, she took a back seat to the political negotiations after the creation of the Alliance of Democrats.
Asked whether she had spoken to Sam Rainsy since Funcinpec’s fallout with the opposition, Princess Vacheara declined immediate comment.