Nationalist Party acting president Sao Rany (C) speaks to reporters earlier this year. Photograph: Pha Lina/Phnom Penh Post
The Norodom Ranariddh Party will hold an assembly at its headquarters in Tuol Kork district today to change its name to the Nationalist Party in order to initiate the official merger with Funcinpec that kicks off tomorrow.
About 400 members of the NRP’s national council will gather to elect the party’s president, debate the reform of the party’s statute and plan for the union, said NRP acting president Sao Rany.
“We hope that the party’s assembly will go smoothly on Friday,” Rany said.
Officials from the NRP will attend Funcinpec’s assembly on Saturday for the merger announcement that the newly created Nationalist Party and about 5,000 of its members will be integrated with Funcinpec.
Rany said the entire integration process should be completed within one month.
Former prime minister and NRP founder Prince Norodom Ranariddh announced earlier in August that he had quit politics indefinitely.
His resignation coincided with intraparty tensions over the upcoming merger with Funcinpec, started when Rany and other members sent a public letter to Ranariddh asking him to step down.
The first congress of the Nationalist Party and Funcinpec will be at Funcinpec headquarters on Saturday in the Russey Keo district of Phnom Penh.
Tum Sambol, spokesman of Funcinpec, said yesterday that 2,000 officials from across the country will attend the congress.
Sambol said the congress will debate the revision of the party’s statutes and internal regulations, revise the party’s infrastructure and also celebrate the integration of officials from the NRP.
“Following a reintegration of the royalist parties under Funcinpec, we hope that we will gain 10 to 17 seats in the National Assembly after the national elections in 2013,” said Rany.
Funcinpec and NRP received a disappointing two seats each of the total 123 seats in the current National Assembly.
To contact the reporter on this story: Vong Sokheng at email@example.com