Princess Norodom Arunrasmy, former head of the royalist FUNCINPEC, has announced that she no longer has any involvement in the party, just days ahead of its congress scheduled for February 9.
The princess’ factional rival Prince Norodom Chakravuth is widely expected to assume the party leadership following the upcoming congress.
“The Cabinet of Princess Norodom Arunrasmy, personal adviser to the King, is officially announcing to the public and the national media that the princess has no role within nor is she involved with FUNCINPEC from this day forward,” it said in a press statement on February 4.
FUNCINPEC spokesman Nhoeun Raden told The Post on February 6 that the party had seen the announcement on Facebook but would not comment on the princess’ decision, as it was her right to either belong or not belong to the party.
Raden said the princess has the role of advising the King and Queen Mother, and did not have time to apply herself to politics.
“Some ill-intentioned people have used her name in meetings, and she is aware of this happening. This is why she has issued this statement,” he added.
Phan Sethy, who was expelled from the party, told The Post that Princess Arunrasmy had done a lot of work for the party, but by announcing the cessation of her involvement she had helped end the infighting which had plagued FUNCINPEC of late.
Prince Chakravuth, acting president of the party and the son of the late Prince Norodom Ranariddh, had mentioned the princess’ name as a possible deputy leader, he said, adding that this was why she had made the announcement.
He noted that Arunrasmy is the aunt of the prince and therefore did not want to be involved in a public spat with her nephew.
Raden said the princess had been president of the party after an extraordinary congress was held in October 2006, ousting Prince Norodom Ranariddh. FUNCINPEC contested the 2013 elections but did not win a single seat. The princess resigned as leader in 2015, and has remained a vice-president since then.