Unhappy Royalists Start Second New Party

A second group of Funcinpec members are leaving the royalist party and creating another party because they are “not happy” with Funcinpec Pres­ident Prince Norodom Rana­riddh, said Hang Dara, founder of the new party.

Titled the Hang Dara Move­ment Democracy Party, the party sub­mitted an application for official formation of the party to the Min­istry of Interior on May 27, less than one week after convicted coup leader and former exile Prince Norodom Chakrapong announced that he, too, would break away from Funcinpec and start a new royalist party.

“We are not happy with Rana­riddh’s leading and for what he has promised to people in the 1993 and 1998 elections and has not returned to the people,” Hang Dara said Sunday. “[Funcinpec supporters] are jobless and most have spent a lot of money for the party’s campaigning during the last election—what they got back was ignorance, abandonment and joblessness.”

Hang Dara said the purpose of the Hang Dara Movement Dem­o­cracy Party is to fight against il­legal immigration, corruption, con­fiscation of Cambodian land along its borders and instability within the society.

He claimed Sunday to have  more than 200,000 members throughout the country and “I ex­pect I will receive at least 20 seats in the 2003 general elections.”

Minister of Information and longtime Funcinpec member Lu Lay­sreng said Sunday that he did­n’t know Hang Dara—a comment repeated by Funcinpec Dep­uty Secretary-General Serey Ko­sal.

“I don’t know him,” Serey Ko­sal said Sunday.

Funcinpec has continued to face problems since its poor showing in the February commune elections. In March, 1,000 Fun­cin­pec resistance fighters began a cam­paign to remove co-Minister of In­terior You Hockry from his post at the ministry, accusing him of corruption and nepotism.

In May, Prince Ranariddh agreed to support the removal, al­though the National Assembly must choose a replacement be­­fore You Hockry will step down.


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