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NRP appoints new president

THE Norodom Ranariddh Party  has announced it will appoint party Vice President Chhim Siek Leng as its next leader following Prince Norodom Ranariddh's retirement from politics Friday.

According to a statement issued Saturday, a party congress will be convened shortly to formalise the appointment, although Prince Ranariddh's name and image will both be retained by the NRP.

"I will be appointed as official president of the NRP at a suitable time," Chhim Siek Leng said Sunday, adding that he was yet to define his stance in relation to the new government, concentrating instead on shoring up local party membership.

"I think that the NRP still has support because there are many supporters at the grassroots," he said. Prime Minister Hun Sen announced Thursday that the NRP will not be offered positions in the new government.

Koul Panha, executive director of election monitor Comfrel, said the appointment was unlikely to change the NRP's fortunes.

"While Prince Ranariddh was away, Chhim Siek Leng was the acting president, so it's not a big change," he said, suggesting the Prince could still have a hand in NRP policy, despite his formal resignation.

"He still puts his name on the party, so he will make sure his name keeps strong in [Cambodian] politics," Koul Panha said.

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