Prince Norodom Sirivudh will return to his post as secretary general of the Funcinpec party, a move that had been expected since the royalists held their congress in March, officials said Monday.
Serey Kosal, deputy secretary general of the party, said that Prince Sirivudh will soon take over again as the No 2 leader in the party, a position he left in 1995 when he was accused of plotting to assassinate then-second Prime Minister Hun Sen
“The reappointment of Prince Sirivudh is very important for the party because he is capable and he has more time to work for the party than others,” Serey Kosal said Monday.
Prince Sirivudh will replace Education Minister and Deputy Prime Minister Tol Lah, whom Serey Kosal described as not having enough time to devote to Funcinpec because of his government roles.
Prince Sirivudh returned to Cambodia in January 1999 after almost three years in exile. He was amnestied by King Norodom Sihanouk in a coalition deal between Funcinpec and the ruling CPP.
Since then, he has led a quiet life outside of politics, chairing the Cambodian Institute for Cooperation and Peace and holding the title of supreme privy counselor to the King, his half brother.
Funcinpec Party President Prince Norodom Ranariddh told Kyodo News on Thursday that the reappointment of Prince Sirivudh would officially take place in 10 days. The change comes as Funcinpec and other parties prepare for the country’s first commune elections, scheduled for February 2002.
In March, Prince Ranariddh announced that Prince Sirivudh had asked to become formally active again in Funcinpec as a National Assembly candidate in the general elections in 2003.
Shortly afterward, Funcinpec held its annual congress in which Prince Ranariddh announced there would be a restructuring in the party hierarchy, including the secretary general post.
But Serey Kosal said so far, only the post of secretary general has been decided.
“Prince Sirivudh will be able to gain more support because he is popular among the party members,” Serey Kosal said.