Prince Sisowath Thomico launched the political platform for his Sangkum Jatiniyum Front Party on Thursday, and accused the ruling CPP of planning to remove the monarchy to consolidate its grip on power.
Speaking to more than 100 supporters at the party’s Tuol Kok district offices, Prince Thomico said the fledgling SJF aims to free Cambodia and the royal family from the government’s clutches.
“The ruling party is planning to overthrow the monarchy,” Prince Thomico claimed. “The CPP’s objective is to consolidate complete power in order to return the country to the State of Cambodia and the Republic of Cambodia,” he added. “Our party’s objective is to liberate the country.”
He also claimed that plans are afoot for schools and hospitals built during retired King’s Norodom Sihanouk’s pre-war governments to be demolished.
Prince Thomico then accused the government of clamping down on freedom of expression and the right to peaceful assembly. “Our country has no law. There is only power,” he declared.
He also said that he hopes ousted Funcinpec President Prince Norodom Ranariddh will join the SJF, and that if he does, he can adopt a leadership position.
“We have almost succeeded in building a royalist movement. When Prince Norodom Ranariddh joins with us, we will succeed,” he said.
Government spokesman and CPP Information Minister Khieu Kanharith said Hun Sen respects the King, and that the government has protected the achievements of the Sangkum Reastr Niyum. “Independence Monument is close to Hun Sen’s house,” Khieu Kanharith noted.
“Some royal family members are stupid. We respect the royal family,” he said. “The royal family members have destroyed themselves.”
Prince Ranariddh’s public affairs adviser Ok Socheat said it was too early to say whether the prince would accept Prince Thomico’s invitation.
Hang Puthea, director of Neutral and Impartial Committee for Free Elections in Cambodia, said he does not believe the CPP wants to scrap the monarchy.
But he added: “There is a tendency within the CPP to push royal family members not be involved in politics.”