Ranariddh: Funcinpec and CPP Pledge Support

Funcinpec President Prince Nor­­­odom Ranariddh told supporters Saturday that his party and the CPP have reached an agreement in which the two parties will support each other in the next general election campaign in 2008.

The agreement will facilitate on­going cooperation to ensure that the country continues making economic progress following years of war and political strife, the prince told about 1,000 supporters in Ta­keo province’s Tram Kok district.

“If Funcinpec wins the [2008] election, the CPP would support me as prime minister,” Prince Ran­­­ariddh said. “If the CPP wins the election, Funcinpec will support Sam­dech Hun Sen as prime minister.”

Funcinpec won the 1993 UN-organized elections but the CPP refused to yield power, resulting in Prime Minister-elect Prince Ranariddh becoming first prime minister while Hun Sen became second prime minister.

The power-sharing premiership ended with street fighting in 1997, resulting in Prince Ran­a­riddh being removed from of­fice. The CPP won the 1998 general election and Funcinpec join­ed the CPP in another coalition government as a minor partner—a coalition that it repeated in 2003, but with an even more diminish­ed Assembly representation.

Government spokesman and Minister of Information Khieu Kan­­harith said that while he didn’t know if the prince and Hun Sen had reached a new agreement on cooperation during the 2008 election campaign, the two parties have already agreed not to attack each other or try to attract each other’s members in the next election.

“The CPP has always supported Prince Ranariddh as the prime min­isterial candidate for Fun­cin­pec,” Khieu Kanharith said, ad­ding that the aim is to have a friend­ly campaign that will maintain political stability for investor confidence.

Sam Rainsy Party parliamentarian Son Chhay welcomed the pro­mise of a peaceful election-previous campaigns have been wrack­­ed with violence—but chided the Funcinpec-CPP agreement.

“They like each other so much, why don’t they form one party?” he asked. Son Chhay added that it would be very difficult for Prince Rana­riddh to ever become prime min­ister given the way the country stands now.


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