Thomico, 50 Party Faithful Swear Oath to Country

Prince Sisowath Thomico and some 50 members of his fledgling Sangkum Cheat Niyum Front Party formally swore their commitment to sacrifice their lives for Cam­bodia’s independence and ter­ritorial integrity Saturday.

In a morning ceremony at Wat Phnom, they each read aloud a two-page oath pledging that they would give their lives “in order to protect independence, sovereignty, integrity, territory and are de­termined to protect the King and Queen forever.”

At a news conference at the par­ty’s offices on Street 313 following the ceremony, Prince Thom­ico urged the UN and the in­ternational community to apply the same level of scrutiny to the 2007 commune elections and 2008 national elections that they did in 1993. The UN supervised the 1993 national elections.

“[Cambodian] authorities are not capable of having transparent and just elections,” Prince Thom­i­co said. “I appeal to the signatory countries of the 1991 Paris Peace Agree­ments to take action in our situation.”

The prince repeated his call for Func­inpec President Prince Nor­o­dom Ranariddh to dissolve his party to preserve his own reputation and that of retired King Nor­o­dom Sihanouk.

Prince Thomico also accused Func­inpec of standing idly by while radio and television stations broad­cast anti-Sihanouk songs from the Lon Nol era last year.

“Radio [stations] played songs looking down and destroying the rep­utation of the retired King…. [Funcinpec] didn’t act,” he said. “Funcinpec is a fake royalist party.”

Ok Socheat, Prince Rana­riddh’s public affairs adviser, said Sunday that he does not fully under­stand why Prince Thomico wants Funcinpec dissolved.

“Right now the Funcinpec par­ty is stronger than in 2003…in the pro­vinces, in Phnom Penh,” he said. “People know that the King Father supports [Prince Rana­riddh] more than before.”

Asked about the anti-Sihanouk songs—broadcast in October around the time Prime Minister Hun Sen threatened to dismantle the monarchy if King Norodom Si­hamoni did not sign the supplemental border treaty with Viet­nam—Ok Socheat said that Prince Thomico has opposed Nor­o­dom Sihanouk in the past.

CPP lawmaker Nguon Nhel said Prince Thomico’s demands for another 1993-style election were delusional.

“I think it was a dream,” he said of the prince’s request. “We cannot go backwards.”

(Additional reporting by Van Roeun)

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