Funcinpec goes for the gold

Funcinpec president Prince Norodom Ranarridh sits on a red carpet
Funcinpec president Prince Norodom Ranarridh sits on a red carpet yesterday in Phnom Penh after a meeting of the royalist party on Koh Pich. MEAS SOKCHEA

Funcinpec goes for the gold

The royalist Funcinpec party has high hopes for the next general election, despite getting trounced at the ballot box in 2013.

Speaking to a crowd of about 1,000 party faithfuls at a conference held in Phnom Penh yesterday, Funcinpec president Prince Norodom Ranariddh said that the party had “high hopes” of coming second in the 2018 election.

“The new policy of Funcinpec is to make Funcinpec have a high impact in the collection of the royalist and Sihanoukist vote, so we have a chance of competing in the 2017 commune and 2018 national elections,” he said.

To achieve this seemingly quixotic goal, the party has devised a rewards system for its members across the country

Prince Ranariddh urged attendees at yesterday’s conference to drum up support for the party in the election for the sixth government since the UN-sponsored election in 1993 that made him prime minister.

In return for garnering more votes, party officials will be eligible for either a gold, silver or bronze medal as part of an annual competition. Gold medals will be awarded to the best performing official at the provincial level, silver to the district leader, and bronze to the most successful commune-level official.

“Every year, the one who does the best and tries hardest will get a gold medal. The one who collects the most votes for the royalists from their villages, communes and districts will be number one,” he said.

“Each year, I will offer a gold medal to the province, a silver medal to the district, and a bronze medal to the commune [that does best],” he added.

Prince Ranariddh did not explain how the rankings would be tallied or if the party expected this new strategy alone to gather enough votes to challenge the two main political parties, the ruling Cambodian People’s Party and the opposition Cambodia National Rescue Party.

To assist in the task, Prince Ranariddh yesterday appointed four additional party vice presidents, bringing the total to six – the highest number of any political party in Cambodia.

Joining Princess Arun Rasmey and General Nhek Bun Chhay are longtime party members You Hokry, Por Bun Sreu, Nuth Sokhom and Nhep Bun Chin.

“A party must be able to help its president,” Ranariddh said, adding that the new positions were created to assist in the drive to increase support at the grassroots level.

But Chea Vannath, an independent analyst, was skeptical.

“The competition is fierce. Now Funcinpec is a newcomer, so it must find a way to interest people. But to do that it must have real policies,” she said.

MOST VIEWED

  • US names new ambassador to Cambodia

    US President Donald Trump on Friday appointed W Patrick Murphy as the new US Ambassador to Cambodia, replacing incumbent William A Heidt. A press release posted on the White House’s website said nominee W Patrick Murphy is currently acting principal deputy assistant secretary at

  • Kingdom is at a crossroads between East, West after poll

    It was dubbed a success by caretaker prime minister Hun Sen after the electoral victory of his Cambodian People’s Party (CPP), which is poised to take all seats in the National Assembly. But the July 29 national election has not been positively looked at by

  • Chinese influence to sweep Kingdom?

    Growing Cambodia-China ties have seen the latter’s influence sweep across the Kingdom through increased investments and tourism. The Asian giant has become the leading source of foreign funds in Cambodia, fuelling the construction sector with huge casino and hotel projects. Much of the growth

  • Final poll results confirm first single-party Assembly

    IN an unprecedented situation in Cambodian politics, the official results of the July 29 national elections have declared that the Cambodian People’s Party (CPP) will take all 125 seats in the National Assembly on the back of it receiving 76 per cent of the votes. The National