Funcinpec President Prince Norodom Ranariddh is scheduled to return to Cambodia Friday and preside over a party gathering Saturday that 1,000 royalist members are expected to attend, Funcinpec Deputy Secretary-General Mam Bun Neang said Wednesday.
Party Secretary-General Nhiek Bun Chhay confirmed that the embattled prince is scheduled to preside over the meeting at Funcinpec headquarters.
“Prince Norodom Ranariddh will talk with the party members,” Mam Bun Neang said, adding that the prince will then visit party supporters in the provinces.
No date has been set for the prince to leave Cambodia again, he added. Prince Ranariddh left the country Aug 25, one week after he returned to Cambodia following a five-month absence.
Mam Bun Neang said the prince has nothing to fear from a new law outlawing adultery, which the National Assembly voted in Friday. Several political observers have said the law was intended to create further strife for the Funcinpec president. Royalist officials say the prince, who remains married to Princess Marie, is in a long-term relationship with classical dancer Ouk Phalla.
Government spokesman and Information Minister Khieu Kanharith said Funcinpec government officials are free to attend the ceremony on their day off work. “It doesn’t matter as it is Saturday,” he said.
Last month, Prime Minister Hun Sen warned provincial royalist officials that they would be fired if they came to Phnom Penh to welcome back the prince at party headquarters.
Khieu Kanharith also said the prince does not need to fear legal action under the adultery law, as Princess Marie has not filed a complaint against him.
Funcinpec lawmaker Princess Sisowath Santa said she was unaware of Prince Ranariddh’s planned return, but added that he should reflect on the new adultery legislation. “I think [Prince Ranariddh] is just one of the individuals who will have to think about his private life,” the princess said.
“It is a time for all families to think about it.” (Additional reporting by James Welsh)