Deposed first prime minister Prince Norodom Ranariddh on Sunday denied reports that Funcinpec had already decided to form another coalition government with the CPP if his party wins the national elections.
“I, the president of Funcinpec party, have not chosen any partner to set up a coalition,” the prince told more than 6,000 supporters Sunday at Phnom Penh’s Olympic Stadium.
Reports in the past days have quoted diplomats and unnamed Funcinpec members as saying the party would form a coalition with the CPP no matter the result of Sunday’s scheduled polls.
Prince Ranariddh vehemently denied those reports, saying they amounted to “the sabotage of Funcinpec’s future.”
“It will depend on the results of the election. It is too soon to talk now of the makeup of a coalition,” he told reporters after a two-hour speech.
As the campaign hit its final stretch Sunday, thousands of Funcinpec supporters sat in the broiling sun to hear assurances that the party would repeat its 1993 election win.
“When Funcinpec wins the 1998 election, Funcinpec will be stronger than in 1993 and will not share state power,” the prince said. Prince Ranariddh was forced into a two-premier system in 1993 after a CPP-led secessionist movement threatened renewed civil war.
The prince also played on the familiar pro-royalty, anti-Vietnamese themes while taking jabs at his nominal ally, Sam Rainsy. Both Funcinpec and the Sam Rainsy Party are part of the National United Front.
“I would not criticize him because we are together in a nationalist, democratic union to gain victory for our nation,” Prince Ranariddh said just as an enthusiastic Sam Rainsy Party motorcade passed outside Olympic Stadium.
But the Prince implied that Sam Rainsy’s anti-Vietnamese stance is an imitation of his own position. “When I served Samdech Euv [King Norodom Sihanouk] to liberate Cambodia from the [Vietnamese] in the past and when I protested about Svay Rieng province’s villages being invaded recently by the [Vietnamese]…did any excellency assist me in demanding territorial protection?” the prince asked.