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Royalist merger shaken again

Royalist merger shaken again

120619_04

Nhek Bun Chhay, president of the Funcinpec party, speaks to party members last year. Photograph: Hong Menea/Phnom Penh Post

The prospect of a merger between Funcinpec and the Norodom Ranariddh Party looks dim, as representatives from both groups are accusing each other of harboring support for unnamed opposition parties.

“As I know, Samdech Krom Preah [Ranariddh] intends to merge with opposition parties,” said Funcinpec president Nhek Bun Chhay, though he didn’t specify which ones.

He said that this would bring problems to Funcinpec, because of its alignment with the ruling Cambodian People’s Party.

“If [Norodom Ranariddh] stands behind opposition parties, I would be chased from the government,” he said.

Prince Norodom Ranariddh could not be reached for comment yesterday, but his chief of cabinet and spokesman, Noranarith Anandayath, dismissed the allegation, and threw it right back at Nhek Bun Chhay.

“So, do not accuse that Norodom Ranariddh wants to join opposition parties. Norodom Ranariddh cannot take votes of royalists to give opposition party leaders Sam Rainsy or Kem Sokha [Human Rights Party], because they are not royalists,” he said.

Election monitoring Comfrel executive director Koul Panha said that the royalist parties should merge if they want to gain more votes.

The now-shaky merger seemed to be set in stone last month, when the two parties agreed to join forces following the June 3 commune elections. But it might be an example of history repeating itself.

In late 2010, the parties began discussing the possibility of a merger, but it failed to materialise amid disagreements on a number of issues, including the name.

To contact the reporter on this story: Meas Sokchea at [email protected]

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