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NRP suggests new coalition

Former first prime minister Norodom Ranariddh has appealed to the ruling Cambodian People’s Party to consider a coalition with his royalist party after the 2013 election.

Speaking in front of 100 Norodom Ranariddh Party members in Phnom Penh’s Tuol Kork district yesterday, the prince said: “I would like to request the CPP to understand that the royalists are a national force.

“If both national forces join together, it makes for more and more development to serve the nation.”

The move would oust current CPP partner Funcinpec, which Ranariddh said yesterday lacks vision and is not Cambodia’s “real royalist party”.

If both national forces join together, it makes for more development

Ranariddh was himself ousted from Funcinpec in 2006 amid allegations that he embezzled funds from the sale of the party’s headquarters. He retired from politics in 2008, but returned to the fray in December to head the NRP, formerly known as the Nationalist party.

Funcinpec spokesman Tom Sambol said yesterday that he was unconcerned about the prince’s proposal, and that the party had evolved since Ranariddh was at the helm.

“If he makes a coalition government with any party, it is Samdech Krom Preah [Norodom Ranariddh]’s business.”

“I don’t oppose his opinion, but ... Funcinpec is not the same as the Funcinpec occupied by [Ranariddh],” he added. “Now everything is decided by everyone together.”

Government officials were less than enthusiastic about the prince’s plan.

Tith Sothea, spokesman at press and quick reaction unit of the Council Ministers, said yesterday that government had already partnered with Funcinpec and that the CPP was not targeting a new coalition.

“Such a move ... is not the target of the government because we have seen that some political parties do not have clear political stances,” he said.

As first prime minister in a coalition government with then-second Prime Minister Hun Sen in 1997, Ranariddh’s Funcinpec forces were ousted by the CPP in brutal fighting that killed dozens of people.

In the current coalition, the Cambodian People’s Party holds 90 seats in the National Assembly to Funcinpec’s two.

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