Central committee ousts 17 student group members.
TURMOIL within the Norodom Ranariddh Party reached new depths Saturday, with the party's central committee moving to oust 17 officials linked to the Democratic Front of Khmer Students and Intellectuals, former NRP spokesman Suth Dina told the Post Sunday.
The move followed an angry confrontation between Democratic Front members and NRP leaders Friday at party headquarters, a party press release said.
Suth Dina, one of the officials purged from the party, confirmed the ousters but argued the central committee had no grounds to remove the officials, as they were members responsible for creating the NRP.
"The decision was not valid. [NRP leaders] have no standing to remove officials who built the party in the first place. These  officials were members of the Khmer Front Party, which created the NRP for the sake of Prince Norodom Ranariddh," Suth Dina said.
He called the ousters revenge in response to efforts by the Democratic Front to remove three NRP leaders - Chhim Seak Leng, You Hockry and Sao Ranny - from power Friday.
"These leaders came to the party as assistants to Samdech Krom Preah. So, after his resignation from the party, they must go, too," Suth Dina said, referring to Prince Norodom Ranariddh.
No NRP leaders were available for comment Sunday, but a press release issued Friday stated that members of the Democratic Front "provoked turmoil" at party headquarters in Phnom Penh's Tuol Kork district.
"They destroyed NRP property and private property. Moreover, [they] erased the NRP logo and replaced it with the Khmer Front Party," the release stated.
It added: "The NRP would like to appeal to all levels of party leadership to strengthen the party's stand and not to be duped by propaganda from the Khmer Front Party."
Meanwhile, Prince Ranariddh issued a statement Saturday urging NRP leaders not to use his name or likeness for the party, despite requests to continue the connection through council elections scheduled for May.