Royals Should Leave Politics, Says Sihanouk

Retired King Norodom Siha­nouk has called on members of the royal family not to oppose the ruling CPP and suggested that royals should be removed from politics altogether.

Cambodia’s current leaders could have chosen to oppose re­storing the monarchy in the early 1990s, but did not, the retired King wrote in a message posted on his Web site Friday, adding that royals therefore should not oppose the CPP.

“Our Princes and Princesses should avoid declaring that they are against the CPP, that their parties are against the CPP, are fighting and shall fight against the CPP,” Norodom Sihanouk wrote from Beijing.

Cambodia could also consider providing royals with pensions in exchange for agreeing to stay out of politics, he added.

“It is fitting and time for the Khmer Kingdom to imitate the great Kingdoms of the World…by seeing to it that the Members of the Royal Family abstain from politics,” he wrote.

Norodom Ranariddh Party spokesman Muth Chantha dec­lined comment on the suggestion that royals should quit politics.

But he said that parties should have different policies and positions, and maintained that just because one party has a different position, it does not mean that it is necessarily working against another party.

Prince Sisowath Thomico maintained that his Sangkum Jatiniyum Front Party is not opposed to the CPP but the political status quo.

“I don’t fight against the CPP,” he said. “I fight against the regime which the CPP has built.” Royals have achieved important political successes in recent history, such as national independence in 1953, he added.

CPP lawmaker Nguon Ngel said he felt that the presence of royals in politics leads to discord. But, he added, the CPP does not want to introduce legislation that would block royals from politics.

Funcinpec Deputy President Prince Sisowath Sirirath said his family has a role to play in politics.

“Royal family members should be given an equal opportunity to do politics,” he said.


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