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Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Two royalist parties to remain independent, for the time being

Two royalist parties to remain independent, for the time being

NRP spokesman says upcoming congress will approve a new name for the party, but claims reunification with Funcinpec is still some time away

AHEAD of their upcoming congress, Norodom Ranariddh Party officials say the party plans to retain a separate identity, despite suggestions it could reunite with Funcinpec, from which it split in 2007.

Party spokesman Pen Sangha said Monday that the upcoming party meeting is likely to formalise the presidency of Chhim Siekleng, currently acting president of the party.

He added that, at the congress, the party would change its name and logo - which both feature retired Prince Norodom Ranariddh, the former president of the party - but said the NRP has not yet merged with Funcinpec.

"Although some recent comments have caused confusion, we would like to confirm that at the NRP's upcoming congress we will not change our name to Funcinpec," Pen Sangha said.

"We have not merged with Funcinpec into a single party yet. We are just cooperating together."

However, he did not say what new name the party would adopt, adding that the NRP's Central Committee had yet to specify a time and place for the congress, although he said it was expected to be held towards  the end of June.

The NRP was created in November 2007, when the Khmer National Front Party voted to change its name and elected Prince Norodom Ranariddh as its president. Ranariddh was previously the head of the royalist Funcinpec party until his sacking in October 2006 after he was convicted of embezzling funds from the sale of the party's former headquarters in Phnom Penh.

Funcinpec Secretary General Nhek Bun Chhay could not be reached for comment Monday, but in an interview last month, he told the Post that the NRP and Funcinpec would merge into a single party ahead of the 2013 national election, a unification that was proceeding at the grassroots level.



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