Ranariddh: I Will Continue to Lead Royalists

Funcinpec leader Prince Noro­dom Ranariddh on Tuesday firmly rejected the idea that he might leave his party post if the royalists have a poor showing in the national elections on July 27.

“As president I have no other way out but to go on leading Funcinpec toward victory,” Ranariddh said.

The royalists lost huge political ground in the commune council elections of 2002, leading some to speculate that the party’s political fortunes are fading as they approach the general election.

Ranariddh, speaking to re­porters outside the National Assembly on Tuesday, said he would proudly lead his party to victory in the general elections this year.

He said he would use all the means at Funcinpec’s disposal to snatch political power this year, adding that he does not have much money, but still has the heart of the people.

“This is a priceless asset,” he said.

His optimistic comments were in contrast to calls from some critics that he has steered the party into the ground after losing power to Prime Minister Hun Sen in 1997.

In 1993, Funcinpec won the general election, but lost power after the factional fighting of July 1997.

Funcinpec won 62 seats in parliament in the 1993 election and 43 seats in the 1998 elections.

Prince Ranariddh said his party had only one month to prepare for the 1998 national elections. For these elections the party has had five years to prepare and will fare better, he said.

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