Funcinpec President Prince Norodom Ranariddh yesterday doubled down on his seemingly illegal request for Chinese aid, claiming it was his “right”, despite the law explicitly prohibiting political parties from accepting foreign funds.
Speaking to reporters after a Buddhist ceremony at the Royal Palace yesterday, Ranariddh said it was his “duty as president” to take care of his party.
“Our party is the poorest party. Now we became the second biggest party, but like journalists know, we are very poor and still empty,” the prince said.
Funcinpec was recently brought back from brink of obscurity after the main opposition, the Cambodia National Rescue Party, was dissolved in November. The majority of their National Assembly seats were handed to Funcinpec, despite the party having won less than 4 percent of the vote in 2013.
“It is up to the Chinese if they do give or not. If they think their law bans that, that’s fine,” he said, despite the fact the move is also outlawed in Cambodia.
Ranariddh first made the request for funding last week to a visiting diplomat.
Following Ranariddh’s comments, Prince Sisowath Chakrey Noukpol, a former Funcinpec official, threatened to sue him and stage a protest should he receive foreign funds. Ranariddh said it was Chakrey Noukpol’s right to sue, just as it was his own right to request money.
Party spokesman Nheb Bun Chhin initially denied the request ever happened, but later said the move was not illegal because no funds were actually received.
Interior Ministry spokesman Khieu Sopheak said last week that the request would not be investigated.