Funcinpec President Prince Norodom Ranariddh expressed support for the recently launched
"Club of Nationalist Resistance" as a means to assist former Royalist resistance
fighters and to strengthen his party for next year's national elections.
"This assistance would streng-then Funcinpec's movement, especially the former
Funcinpec resistance [members]," said Ranariddh on Nov 13. "What they will
do [is work on solving] the poverty issue."
Senate Second Deputy President and former Funcinpec commander Nhiek Bun Chhay established
the 'social club' on November 9.
"I think that this club is not just for social work to improve the living conditions
of resistance supporters, but it is also aimed to gather all former Funcinpec resistance
and then [move] to strengthen the party for elections," Bun Chhay said.
He said that the club would assist with small amounts of funds and material to former
fighters who were not integrated into the Royal Cambodian Armed Forces, and others
who had lost family members during the civil war.
He said funds would be sought from members of the club who were in government positions
such as governors, ministers, parliamentarians, senators, police and soldiers.
"We have the same policy as the government - to reduce poverty," said Bun
However, one Funcinpec official who requested anonymity said that the prince has
not officially decided on the status of the club as he had to file the proper forms
with the Ministry of Interior and check with his CPP coalition partner.
The source said there were indications that several senior Funcinpec officials were
considering leaving the party, including Kieng Vang, secretary of state at the Ministry
of Interior, Khan Savoeun, Deputy Commander-in-Chief of RCAF, and Lay Virak, Governor
of Uddor Meanchey.
"I think that they don't want to resign from the party because they are concerned
about losing jobs within the government, and they would wait until they get fired
by the party, then there will be enough reason to use words to attack Funcinpec,"
said the source.
Savoeun and Virak were unavailable for comment, but Kieng Vang flatly denied any
He said that within Funcinpec there were some officials who were trying to destroy
the relationship among the former Funcinpec resistance members.
"I am deputy of the club," said Vang. "Our club is aimed to protect
each other among the former resistance [members], and we have to stay together and
there is no reason for us to make a dispute."
He said that the club would also help Funcinpec to rebuild the confidence among the
former resistance supporters for next year's elections.
Bun Chhay denied rumors that he plans to leave Funcinpec after the formation of his
"I heard that some people were not happy, but those [people] have never identified
[themselves] in public," said Bun Chhay.
"Now, the political environment is stable, the country has peace, therefore
it was the right time for me to set up the club," said Bun Chhay. "This
club will serve Funcinpec; there are no other intentions."