The Interior Ministry issued a statement Tuesday accusing Prince Sisowath Thomico of falsely claiming that the ministry has registered his fledgling Sangkum Jatiniyum Front Party.
Prince Thomico responded by accusing the ministry of trying to mislead the public.
The prince also said that considering the Interior Ministry was capable of swapping land inside the city block housing the Royal Palace with private investors last year, registering his party should be easy.
The Interior Ministry said that it still cannot register the SJFP because the party has not provided adequate information about its political platform and the location of party offices.
“The Ministry of Interior sold out the Royal Palace’s land—how dare it make such a sale? Why is registering my party [as] problematic?” Prince Thomico said.
The Interior Ministry’s logistics department, located in the southwestern corner of the Royal Palace block, was traded to property developer Phanimex Co Ltd in July 2005.
In return for the lucrative land in the corner of the Royal Palace compound, Phanimex will construct alternative building for the Interior Ministry outside Phnom Penh.
Prince Thomico said that the technical problems with registering his party at the Interior Ministry were too complicated to explain quickly.
Interior Minister Sar Kheng said in an August statement that the ministry would not allow the SJFP to open offices. Sar Kheng said this was because it was unclear whether the SJFP was a political party, an alliance of parties, an NGO or an association.
SJFP officials said they have been trying to register with the ministry since July, and accused officials of political sabotage.
Interior Ministry spokesman Khieu Sopheak said the ministry is not trying to mislead the public, and just wants Prince Thomico to abide by the law.
“If we were playing a trick, we would seek an order to arrest [Prince Thomico] for his attempt to topple the political regime,” Khieu Sopheak said, referring to the SJFP’s statute, which calls for change to the way Cambodia is run.
Information Minister Khieu Kanharith said the government is not trying to hinder the political ambitions of the prince or anyone else.
“More are welcome, but they have to follow the law,” he said.