Princess Norodom Arun Rasmey has resigned from her position as a deputy president of the royalist Funcinpec party, prompting analysts to question the viability of the party’s attempts at revitalisation under returned leader Prince Norodom Ranariddh.
Funcinpec party spokesman Nhep Bun Chin yesterday confirmed that Arun Rasmey had stepped down, but party officials remained tight-lipped as to the reasons behind the move.
The Princess, who is also Cambodia’s ambassador to Malaysia, could not be reached yesterday. But Bun Chin said she had left Funcinpec to concentrate on her other duties.
“The Princess is very busy. There is nothing strange going on and nobody is upset that she resigned from the position to accompany the King,” he said, referring to Arun Rasmey joining King Norodom Sihamoni in Beijing, where he is undergoing a medical check-up.
Funcinpec held a conference earlier this month where Ranariddh attempted to re-energise the floundering party by offering incentives to members who won converts from other parties. He also appointed four additional vice presidents to work alongside Arun Rasmey and Nhek Bun Chhay.
“She [Arun Rasmey] asked to be allowed to resign many times before, but [Ranariddh] asked her to stay to help,” Bun Chin added.
Several other Funcinpec officials declined to comment.
Son Soubert, a royal adviser, said he thought Arun Rasmey’s decision to leave the party was “the right move”, adding Funcinpec would not survive long without stronger support from the ruling Cambodian People’s Party.
Bun Chhay, who led Funcinpec until the return of Ranariddh earlier this year, in February said the party could split along factional lines if Ranariddh continued to replace Bun Chhay loyalists with members of the Prince’s short-lived Community of Royalist People’s Party.
“I am not surprised how autocratic he is . . . I am not surprised by the shake up taking place now, and I did expect Arun Rasmey would be one casualty,” said political analyst Ou Virak, adding that the Princess had been “picked to give the party an aura of royalty since the Prince was removed” in 2006.
“Now that the Prince is back, she is dispensable.”