Retired King Norodom Sihanouk’s pen pal Ruom Ritt wrote a letter Monday, suggesting that King Norodom Sihamoni would abdicate the throne after his father’s death, and that his half-brother Prince Norodom Ranariddh would take his place.
Using pseudonyms for his subjects, Ruom Ritt said that a “group of important Machiavellians” will “provoke the fall of ‘the royal throne’ of King Sihimona and replace him, as ‘Sovereign,’ by the very intelligent, very experienced, and very deserving half-brother, the Great Lord Riddharan.”
He added in the letter posted on Norodom Sihanouk’s Web site that “Soukhani”—apparently referring to Norodom Sihanouk—and “Sihimona are knowledgeable of this ‘Machiavellian plan,’” and that the latter vowed to abdicate at an opportune time.
Prince Ranariddh on Tuesday denied harboring aspirations to ascend the throne after Norodom Sihanouk’s death.“I have no intention, I would like to strongly deny” wanting to head the monarchy, he told reporters outside the National Assembly. “This is an insult,” he said of the letter.
Many have previously questioned whether Ruom Ritt is in fact a pen name for Norodom Sihanouk. Such speculation has angered the retired King in the past.
Ruom Ritt’s controversial letters returned to Norodom Sihanouk’s Web site last week after more than a year of silence.
Koul Panha, director of the Committee for Free and Fair Elections, said Ruom Ritt’s latest message may have intended to signal what could happen if the constitutionality of the king’s abdication remains in question.
Though the Constitution says the King must be head of state for life, the Throne Council law allows for his abdication.
“This can be manipulated by politicians,” Koul Panha said Tuesday. “I think this [letter] is just to prevent something like this from happening,” he said.