PRIME Minister Hun Sen yesterday issued a statement saying that he will not welcome the Nationalist Party into his Cambodian People’s Party-dominated ruling coalition, despite the return of royalist heavyweight Prince Norodom Ranariddh to political life.
Hun Sen wrote that the current government – a coalition the CPP and Funcinpec formed after the 2008 election – would likely remain unchanged.
“I really do not want to make a tripartite coalition government [of the] CPP, Funcinpec and Norodom Ranariddh Party,” Hun Sen wrote, using the NP’s former name. It is set to readopt the name at its party congress this weekend.
Ranariddh announced his return to politics in Kampong Cham on Saturday, more than two years after his retirement.
In announcing his return, Ranariddh railed against his former party Funcinpec, claiming that the current leadership had sold themselves to the ruling CPP in exchange for “rotten” government posts and personal benefits.
Ranariddh – who led Funcinpec to victory at the United Nationdsbacked 1993 election but was expelled as party president in 2006 – called for loyal Funcinpec members to defect to the NP/NRP ahead of elections in 2013.
In his letter yesterday, however, Hun Sen warned that any Funcinpec government officials defecting to the party would “be fired from their post immediately”.
Since Funcinpec’s electoral victory in 1993, the royalist movement has been on a steady decline. At the 2008 elections, Funcinpec and the NRP gained just four of the 123 seats in the National Assembly.