Princess Wants to Unite Royalists, Opposition

Funcinpec Parliamentarian Princess Norodom Vacheara, the half-sister of King Norodom Sihanouk, said on Monday she will try to broker a coalition deal between the royalists and the opposition in a bid to defeat Prime Minister Hun Sen’s ruling CPP in the July 27 general elections.

The outspoken princess, who returned from France Sunday, also said she would likely resign from politics if Cambodian “dem­o­­crats” were unable to set their differences aside and join together to win the election.

“I will try to approach [Funcin­pec leader] Prince Norodom Ranariddh so we can discuss the idea of setting up a union for all democrats,” the princess told reporters during an interview at her residence in Phnom Penh.

“The only way to win over the dictatorship is the unification of all democrats,” she added. The princess conceded that Prince Ranariddh was unlikely to join a political union with opposition party leader Sam Rainsy, but said she would pursue the possibility.

Refuting long-standing speculation that she might join the opposition party, Vacheara said that defections between Funcinpec and the Sam Rainsy Party did nothing to challenge the CPP.

“If I leave Funcinpec and join Sam Rainsy it is like one glass of water being poured into another glass: It does not make any difference. It is still the same amount of water,” Vacheara said. “It doesn’t benefit anyone.”

“If the situation does not change, it will be difficult for me to stay in politics because it will be against my ideals,” she added.

The princess also said that Funcinpec must make it clear to the CPP that it is not completely bound to a future coalition after the July poll.

Sam Rainsy said on Sunday he supported Vacheara’s stance. Sam Rainsy said his invitation extends to members of the CPP, but not to Hun Sen.

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