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Sirivudh to leave politics to non-royals

PRINCE Norodom Sirivudh reaffirmed his commitment to political neutrality, telling reporters Monday he would follow the advice of King Father Norodom Sihanouk and leave national politics to citizens rather than royals.

"I will not be a member of any political parties, but I will serve the King and the Kingdom with honesty," he said.

Prince Sirivudh formerly served as deputy prime minister in 1993 and secretary general of Funcinpec in 2001.

"If any other royal follows the advice of the King Father, I congratulate them, but it is up to individual royals to decide which way to go," he said.

He added that remaining neutral politically does not mean he no longer cares about national issues.

His announcement follows Prince Norodom Ranariddh's exit from politics after he resigned as the leader of his self-named political party.

Prince Sisowath Chakkrey Noukpol said Monday he supported Prince Sirivudh's comments, but said he thinks royals have a role to play in government to help resolve national issues, particularly border issues related to Thailand.

"For me, I will continue in politics," he said.

Cambodian People's Party lawmaker Cheam Yeap told the Post that participation by royals in Cambodia's political institutions invites unnecessary criticism of the monarchy.

But opposition Sam Rainsy Party member Son Chhay said, as citizens of Cambodia, royals have every right to participate in national political life.

"We should not forbid royals from participating in politics and should not create laws to prohibit them," he said.

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