Home > Local News, Politic > Funcinpec still opposed to royalist merger

Funcinpec still opposed to royalist merger

Photo by: Sovan Philong

Prince Norodom Ranariddh speaks during an interview with The Post last month.

Leaders of the royalist Funcinpec party have reaffirmed their opposition
to a merger with Prince Norodom Ranariddh’s self-named party, only
weeks after the former prime minister floated the proposal.

Prince
Ranariddh, who made a surprise return to political life last month, has
proposed the creation of a new party – to be called Funcinpec 81 – as a
means of reuniting and reinvigorating the Kingdom’s flagging royalist
movement.

In a statement issued on Saturday, the heads of
Funcinpec, which is now in government as the minor coalition partner of
the Cambodian People’s Party, said the party would not take part in any
merger.

“The Funcinpec party would like to deny and reject
completely a request or any initiative about the merger of the Funcinpec
81 movement,” read the statement.

It added that a December 6
meeting between the Norodom Ranariddh Party head and Funcinpec president
Keo Puth Reaksmey was private and did not indicate any agreement on the
merger plan.

The statement did not indicate why Funcinpec was
rejecting the Prince’s proposal, but early last month Funcinpec
officials said that relinquishing the Funcinpec name would disrupt the
party’s historical continuity and impact its popularity.

Since
Funcinpec’s victory in the elections in 1993, the royalist movement has
been on a steady decline. In 2008, both royalist parties won a combined
four seats in the 123-seat National Assembly.

On Sunday, NRP representatives expressed regret at Funcinpec’s position on the merger.

“I
am so regretful about the Funcinpec party’s rejection,” said NRP
spokesman Pen Sangha. “I’m not saying that the present Funcinpec has
walked far from its previous principles; I want to keep and defend
Funcinpec’s principles … The best way is the merger of both royalist
parties.”

Keo Puth Reaksmey could not be reached for comment
Sunday, but Funcinpec spokesman Tom Sambol reiterated that his December
meeting with Ranariddh was private in nature.

Phnom Penh Post
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Categories: Local News, Politic
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