Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - NUF launch revives political fireworks

NUF launch revives political fireworks

NUF launch revives political fireworks

THE National United Front (NUF) was officially launched Feb 27, immediately fueling

tensions between Cambodia's ruling parties Funcinpec and the Cambodian People's Party

(CPP).

In a statement issued the day after the launch of the Funcinpec-allied NUF, CPP accused

Funcinpec of trying to interfere in its internal affairs.

The statement was in response to a comment by Funcinpec leader and First Prime Minister

Prince Norodom Ranariddh that he would present a copy of NUF's political platform

to CPP president Chea Sim.

"The CPP considers the above statement as an act which is aimed at dividing

the CPP," the statement said, implicitly accusing Funcinpec of trying to drive

a wedge between Chea Sim and CPP vice-president and Second Prime Minister Hun Sen.

After the inauguration of NUF, Prince Ranariddh said he intended to personally bring

the front's platform for Chea Sim to examine, despite Hun Sen's prior refusal to

be part of the front.

The CPP statement said that the public statements of Hun Sen was the official position

of the CPP.

"The CPP finds no need for examining this front's political platform because

it also has its own political program for rehabilitating and developing the country,"

the statement said.

"This front is such an strange thing. A ruling political party allies with a

party which opposes the Royal Government, insults it [calling it] a mafia state and

stirs up endless unrest," it said - referring to Khmer Nation Party (KNP) president

Sam Rainsy, a vocal government critic.

The statement described the front's formation as "welded broken plate",

a clear reference to the reunion between Ranariddh and Rainsy who was dismissed from

Funcinpec.

In a Mar 1 response, Funcinpec criticized the CPP's reaction as being unreasonable

and as causing political instability out of minor and simple matters.

It said that the CPP misunderstood the gesture of Ranariddh, president of Funcinpec

and NUF, to go see Chea Sim as an interference aimed at dividing the CPP.

Responding to the CPP's criticism about the Ranariddh-Rainsy reunion, the Funcinpec

statement said its party had the right to choose its partner to contest in the 1998

election and "does not need advice from - or [does it] intend to give it to

- any political party either".

However, by Wednesday this week both Prime Ministers were making efforts to put the

spat behind them and show a united face.

Joining the entire Council of Ministers for lunch at a restaurant outside Phnom Penh,

the PMs hugged each other.

Hun Sen said the pair would continue to hug each other, "not just three times

but five times a day", as it was their "historical responsibility"

to avoid "any deterioration of the situation".

Ranariddh made no public comment but the Funcinpec deputy PM Ing Kieth said: "It's

better - the sky is now clear."

The earlier furor over NUF - which comprises Funcinpec, KNP, the Son Sann-led Buddhist

Liberal Democratic Party and the Khmer Nation Party - led to both a group of former

Khmer Rouge and the Anlong Veng hardliners chipping in with statements of their own.

The Democratic National United Movement (DNUM), a grouping of former KR, issued a

statement suggesting that it was attracting favorable "national and international

opinions" for its middle stance between Cambodia's ruling parties.

The statement made no mention of the contingent of DNUM delegates sent to 'unofficially'

represent the movement at the NUF congress.

In the Feb 28 statement, spokesman Suong Sikoeun said DNUM was "never happy

to watch clashes between opposing political parties as a referee".

He called on all parties to work toward creating "a non-partisan atmosphere

... to turn the confrontation into handshakes and cooperation for a sole objective

- to solve social and economic issues that are seriously deteriorating".

In what is seen as a defense to clear themselves from Khmer Rouge crimes between

1975-79, the statement said it did not welcome any attempt to review and revive "old

cases that have already become historical inheritance".

"The reason we broke away from the Pol Pot group was because we didn't want

to see Khmer blood being spilled any further," Sikoeun said.

"Any accusation that DNUM's middle stance is a political trick - waiting for

a good opportunity to grab power - is in any way unreasonable and completely contradicting

reality," he said.

Meanwhile, hardline Khmer Rouge radio broadcasts claimed to support the creation

of NUF, while not necessarily endorsing it, and accused CPP of attempting to subdue

the new front.

• In Tam, a former Cambodian prime minister and one-time Royalist, has joined CPP's

new alliance of political parties.

Hun Sen signed an alliance deal with the Democratic Party's deputy leader Ouk Phure,

in the absence of the ailing 79-year-old In Tam.

In Tam served as interior minister and agriculture minister during Norodom Sihanouk's

Sangkum Reastr Niyum in the 1960s and as prime minister in 1973, after Sihanouk's

overthrow.

MOST VIEWED

  • Two luxury hotels latest quarantine options for inbound travellers

    The Inter-Ministerial Committee to Combat Covid-19 has designated two luxury hotels as alternative quarantine options for travellers who wish to enter Cambodia through Phnom Penh International Airport – Sokha Phnom Penh Hotel & Residence and the Courtyard by Marriott Phnom Penh. In a notice detailing guidelines issued

  • Visa A holders get to quarantine at Himawari Hotel

    The Ministry of Health has permitted foreign diplomats, UN and International NGO officials to undergo quarantine at Himawari Hotel in the capital in case they do not have a separate place suitable for this purpose, but the government would not be responsible for the expenses.

  • Jabs for kids bring hope for school reopenings

    Cambodia is tentatively planning to reopen schools – at least at the secondary level – when the vaccination of children aged 12-17 is completed, even though daily transmissions and deaths in other age groups remain high. Schools across the country have been suspended since March 20, one month

  • China denies Mekong hacking

    As the US and its allies joined hands last week to expose what they allege to be China’s Ministry of State Security’s malicious cyber activities around the world, the attention also turned to Cambodia with the US Department of Justice claiming that four

  • Governor: Covid subsides in capital

    Phnom Penh municipal governor Khuong Sreng said the Covid-19 situation in the capital’s 14 districts has eased, with only two districts still recording a high number of infections. “Transmission cases in all districts are dropping, though they are relatively higher Meanchey and Por Sen Chey.

  • Hun Sen: Get 12-17 age group ready for Covid jabs

    Prime Minister Hun Sen has told parents of children aged 12-17 in Phnom Penh and the provinces of Kandal and Preah Sihanouk to get them ready for vaccinations soon. “There is a need to vaccinate children and youths aged 12 to 17. According to the statistics provided