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)