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Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Ranariddh to leave politics, work for the palace, Prince says

Ranariddh to leave politics, work for the palace, Prince says

Troubled Prince Ranariddh, who is currently in exile in Malaysia, might quit politics and focus on helping to improve the Kingdom


Ranariddh left the country last year dogged by legal problems, including a fraud conviction over his illegal sale of the headquarters of his former party, Funcinpec, and a pending prosecution for adultery for his relationship with his long-term mistress.

PRINCE Norodom Ranariddh is expected to resign as head of his self-named party and quit politics, a fellow royal, Prince Sisowath Thomico, told the Post on Sunday, suggesting that the move could be part of a plan for his return from exile.

Ranariddh, who left Cambodia last year under a cloud of legal problems, is living in Malaysia and faces arrest if he comes back to Cambodia.

His absence has effectively sidelined him from Cambodia's political scene, and the NRP is likely to take only two seats in the new National Assembly following the July 27 general election.

"I heard of his intentions two weeks ago," Sisowath Thomico said, adding that he did not know if the resignation would be permanent or temporary.

Former king Norodom Sihanouk had often requested that Ranariddh give up politics and focus on improving the nation, Sisowath Thomico said.


"The Sam Rainsy Party and the Cambodian People's Party have also called for the royal family to end their involvement in politics," he said.
"It would be unconstitutional to force the royal family to quit, but it is their right to do so willingly."

Ranariddh could become chief adviser to King Norodom Sihamoni, something that high-ranking CPP members have frequently suggested was available to him if he gave up politics, Sisowath Thomico said.

NRP spokesman Muth Chantha said Sunday that the party has heard nothing about Ranariddh's intention to leave politics.

Muth Chantha added that the party remains in constant contact with Norodom Ranariddh and that he consistently encourages members to keep working to strengthen the party.

Officials from the SRP and CPP could not be reached for comment on Sunday.

The NRP announced August 12 that it would endorse the results of last month's election, abandoning fellow opposition parties in their fight against what they say were rigged polls that gave the advantage to the ruling Cambodian People's Party.

This fuelled speculation the move was made to try to facilitate Ranariddh's return to Cambodia.

Dr Heang Rithy, president of the Cambodian National Research Organisation, said Ranariddh had done about all he could in politics and should turn his focus to the Royal Palace to help advance social and economic development in Cambodia.



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