The Prince Nominates Aunt for Assembly Position

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.

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