Top Funcinpec officials Prince Norodom Ranariddh and Prince Norodom Sirivudh should be removed from informal lists of possible successors to King Norodom Sihanouk, Prince Ranariddh said Monday.
“Please cancel my name, and Prince Sirivudh also. He does not want to succeed,” Prince Ranariddh said outside the National Assembly.
The prince, who serves as president of both the assembly and the royalist party, said he and his uncle, Prince Sirivudh, are focusing only on next year’s national elections. Prince Sirivudh has served as Funcinpec secretary-general since last August.
“Two Norodoms will lead Funcinpec to victory in the coming election,” Prince Ranariddh said.
Prince Sirivudh confirmed Monday that he is not interested in the throne. “What Prince Ranariddh said is true because I informed him about that,” he said. “I want to serve the nation through politics.”
Speculation over royal succession has been a delicate issue in the past, with Prime Minister Hun Sen warning against such talk while King Sihanouk is still alive. On Monday, Prince Ranariddh said, “We should not say who will be the successor when the King is still alive. We don’t have to talk.”
But when asked by a Kyodo News reporter if he would support Prince Norodom Sihamoni if he were selected as king, Prince Ranariddh said that he would.
“I would support him because he supported me before,” Prince Ranariddh said.
Prince Sihamoni, Cambodia’s representative to the UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization and the son of Queen Norodom Monineath, has been mentioned as one of the more likely candidates for the throne, partly because he is perceived as someone who would not interfere in the political arena.
One member of the royal family said that Prince Ranariddh and Prince Sirivudh often say they do not want to be king. (Additional reporting by Kevin Doyle)
“They prefer to be involved in the political life of the country,” said the royal family member. “Sirivudh is never interested in that, for sure. Ranariddh, I don’t know.”
(Additional reporting by Kevin Doyle)