Retired King Concerned for Future of Monarchy

Retired King Norodom Sihanouk has expressed concern that the Cambodian monarchy stands a chance of being done away with in the “more or less near future.”

In a message written Jun 5 and released publicly on Friday, Norodom Sihanouk also wrote that in the interest of preserving the monarchy he would ask that political parties refrain from using the terms “royalist” or “Sihanoukist.”

“In a more or less near future, the Khmer Monarchy has ‘chances’ to be, once again, ‘deposed,'” the retired King wrote in a statement sent to the media.

“This afternoon, my beloved Son, HM Norodom Sihamoni, King of Cambodia, told me: ‘Papa! Do not worry for me. I shall return to Paris to live there in my modest ‘studio.'”

The King Father went on to detail his plans in the event that the monarchy was “deposed.” “I shall live in a Country that shall kindly, amicably (with a good heart) grant me asylum and…this country should take charge of the least expense for my housing and feeding: I shall rent (for me and my wife) a small room (with bathroom) in a small, modest hotel and our daily food shall also be very modest (bought from a modest grocer),” the retired King wrote.

“In order not to cause the Monarchy, once again threatened with being ‘swept away,'” he added, “I permit myself, as their ‘Doyen,’ to ask the esteemed members (Ladies & Gentlemen) of the Khmer Royal Family no longer to say or to write that FUNCINPEC was created by N. Sihanouk; that such and such Parties and groups are ‘Royalist’ or ‘Sihanoukist.'”

Funcinpec on Saturday released a statement expressing support for the retired King. “[Funcinpec] is strongly against any attempts that could [negatively] affect the monarchy,” the party said.

Funcinpec Second Deputy President Prince Sisowath Sirirath added that the retired King would not have arbitrarily decided to make such statements and must have been spurred to do so because of specific concerns.

“The retired King is concerned; someone must have caused him concern,” Prince Sirirath said. “Someone is afraid of the retired King,” he added.

Norodom Ranariddh Party spokesman Muth Channtha said that Prime Minister Hun Sen’s recent ban on the use of royal titles in government was to blame.

“[Hun Sen] has stopped the government from using royal titles,” Muth Channtha said by telephone. “This is a response from the retired King,” he said.

Muth Channtha and Prince Sirirath also said that their respective parties already do not use Norodom Sihanouk’s name as a campaigning platform ahead of the July national election. CPP lawmaker Cheam Yeap said on Sunday that he doubted the retired King’s statement was a response to anything Hun Sen had said.

The ruling party has no interest in seeing the end of the monarchy, Cheam Yeap said, adding that Hun Sen has previously said that it was the CPP that invited Norodom Sihanouk back to Cambodia to reestablish the monarchy in the early 1990s.

“The CPP supports and protects the monarchy,” he added.

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