Funcinpec President Prince Norodom Ranariddh has nominated Princess Norodom Vacheara as a candidate for second deputy president of the National Assembly, though Sam Rainsy Party lawmakers plan to contest the position, officials said Sunday.
Princess Vacheara, a Funcinpec lawmaker who currently chairs the Assembly’s commission on foreign affairs, international cooperation and information, was officially put forward for the position on Saturday by her nephew Prince Ranariddh, said Serei Kosal, a senior Funcinpec minister.
Funcinpec lawmaker Sem Soly said the princess returned from France several weeks ago after seeking medical treatment there late last year. She could not be reached for comment on Sunday.
Opposition lawmaker Eng Chhay Eang said his party will put forward a candidate to challenge Princess Vacheara.
He added that the opposition will support CPP Honorary President Heng Samrin as the new Assembly president, and CPP lawmaker Nguon Nhel as first vice president, but will not back a candidate from the royalist ranks.
“This is to reflect the democratic principle,” he said.
Sem Soly said that although Princess Vacheara often goes to France for treatment, she is an appropriate candidate.
“She is qualified, she has a lot of general knowledge,” he said.
Government spokesman and Information Minister Khieu Kanharith said he had not received official notification of the princess’ nomination, or of the Sam Rainsy Party’s aspirations for the position.
On Wednesday, the Assembly is expected to vote to officially remove Funcinpec’s former co-minister of interior Prince Norodom Sirivudh and co-minister of defense Nhiek Bun Chhay.
The pair were dismissed by Prime Minister Hun Sen on March 2, a day before Prince Ranariddh resigned from the presidency of the Assembly.
Opposition lawmaker Son Chhay said the Assembly will amend its internal regulations on Wednesday to allow an opposition lawmaker to take the second deputy position.