Ranariddh’s Adviser Quits Royalist Party

Noranarith Anandayath, the long-serving personal secretary of former First Prime Minister Prince Norodom Ranariddh, said Sunday that he has resigned from the prince’s newly formed political party and is considering joining the CPP.

Mr. Anandayath has served as Prince Ranariddh’s spokesman and closest adviser in some capacity for the past decade, having come to work as the prince’s cabinet chief toward the end of the second electoral mandate in 2002.

Mr. Anandayath said he had a falling out with Prince Ranariddh after the prince sent him a letter last month rebuking him for spreading rumors about him among members of his new Community of Royalist People Party in the provinces.

“For him to say that I go around the provinces badmouthing him, that’s a total lie,” he said. “You can call any province constituent and ask them. It’s a total lie. It’s a terrible bad-mouth about his own closest aide. It’s not very nice.”

As a result, Mr. Anandayath said, he left his position as the prince’s cabinet chief and a member of his new party, which was launched with his help in March. “I have resigned. I have relinquished my positions,” he said.

He said the letter from Prince Ranariddh, which was quoted in the Koh Santepheap newspaper last week, was sent on September 8 and that he had ignored it. The article said he would probably join the ruling CPP.

Mr. Anandayath confirmed Sunday that he was in talks with the CPP, but said he had not made a final decision about whether to join the party.

“I have spoken to the CPP, yes. They have given me a very warm welcome,” he said, adding that he would not join the opposition CNRP, as he was “not an opposition kind of individual.”

“Time will tell, something is cooking,” he said. “If Ranariddh does not want to use me, I’m sure someone wants to use me.”

Prince Ranariddh did not respond to a request for comment.

The prince’s Funcinpec party won the 1993 U.N.-led election but was ousted by then-Second Prime Minister Hun Sen after the 1997 factional fighting in Phnom Penh.

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