Former Prime Minister Prince Norodom Ranariddh made his bid to return to politics official yesterday, signing papers to be sent to the Ministry of Interior today to seek registration and recognition for his new political party.
In a closed-door meeting with around 300 supporters in Phnom Penh’s Sunway Hotel, Ranariddh signed the papers, which he will send to Interior Minister Sar Kheng so that his new Community of Royalist People’s Party (CRPP) can take part in the next election.
In a press conference after the meeting, Ranariddh, who ruled in a coalition government with Prime Minister Hun Sen from 1993 to 1997, said he is returning to politics because the Cambodian People’s Party and Cambodia National Rescue Party are failing to find solutions to the country’s problems.
“The party A, I will not join; the party B, I also will not join. But I have always prepared [my]self to work with any party that has [a] vision to resolve national problems the same as my party [does],” Ranariddh said.
The one-time political arch-rival of Hun Sen hit out at CNRP leaders Sam Rainsy and Kem Sokha for posing a threat to the “royalist regime” and urged the opposition to take its seats in the National Assembly.
“I dare to say … that if he [Rainsy] is elected … he would end the royalist regime,” Ranariddh said.
CNRP vice president Kem Sokha scoffed at the rhetoric.
“We will not [listen to] his ideas, citizens also will not allow us to [listen to] his ideas,” Sokha said.
Political analyst Kem Ley said that Ranariddh’s “unclear politics” when he was in power will stand in the way of the success of the new party and that the only way for him to return would be to join the CNRP.
CNRP lawmaker-elect Yim Sovann agreed.
“There are only two political parties in the country … it will stay this way,” he said, adding that the creation of the party will not stand in the way of the CNRP’s goals. “We [the CNRP] are in their hearts. They [the CRPP] have the right to form a party and people have the right to choose the CNRP.”
ADDITIONAL REPORTING BY ALICE CUDDY