Ranariddh Urges Opposition to His F’pec Ousting

Prince Norodom Ranariddh on Sa­turday urged CPP and Senate Pres­ident Chea Sim not to accept Keo Puth Rasmey as the new Func­inpec president until the Interior Mi­ni­stry responds to the prince’s complaint about his ousting.

Prince Ranariddh also requested in a Saturday letter that while he awaits the ministry’s response, the rul­ing CPP should “suspend and an­nul” cooperation with Funcinpec…. I am strongly against the new and illegal structure of the Func­inpec congress and its re­moval of myself from president of the Funcinpec party,” Prince Ra­na­riddh wrote.

Funcinpec Secretary-General Nhiek Bun Chhay held a hastily-con­­vened party congress Wed­nes­day and later announced that a de­cision had been reached to “elevate” Prince Ranariddh to “historical president.” Cambodia’s Am­bassador to Ger­many, Keo Puth Rasmey, was then appointed as Funcinpec president.

Government spokesman and In­for­mation Minister Khieu Kan­harith said the CPP recognizes Keo Puth Rasmey as he was elected by Funcinpec.

“We cannot do as Prince Ra­na­riddh requests,” he said, adding that if the prince returns to Cambodia, he can attempt to convene a new con­gress to hold a vote to have himself reinstated.

Continuing the Funcinpec re­shuf­fle, Prime Minister Hun Sen has asked the National Assembly to appoint Keo Puth Rasmey as a de­puty prime minister and Prince Ra­nariddh’s wife Princess Marie as senior minister, Funcinpec spokesman Nouv Sovathero said.

“This is to show the good cooperation between the Funcinpec and the CPP, now that Func­in­pec’s situation has normalized,” Nouv Sovathero said.

Retired King Norodom Si­ha­nouk issued a letter to the media ad­d­ressed to Prince Norodom Ranariddh Friday, in which he threw cold water on the prince’s proposed new party. “The creation of a new political Party, called the ‘N Ranariddh Party’ or otherwise, will not meet with a warm reception from Papa,” the retired King wrote. “From experience in this po­litical arena, Papa cannot, alas, pre­dict much success for a new party presided over by You.”

Norodom Sihanouk retracted the message several hours later with­out providing a reason.

(Additional reporting by Douglas Gillison)


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