Funcinpec party president Prince Norodom Ranariddh on Saturday appointed his oldest son as acting president and a senior party member as secretary-general while he receives medical treatment abroad following a tragic traffic accident in June that took his wife’s life.
“Prince Norodom Chakravuth is appointed as acting president and Pech Sodetha as secretary-general of Funcinpec party,” read a statement dated August 8 and obtained by The Post on Sunday.
The acting president and secretary-general of the party “must lead, administer and decide on all Funcinpec’s work to the best of their abilities while the president is hospitalised”, said the statement.
Despite a lack of experience, Funcinpec spokesperson Nheb Bun Chhin said Prince Norodom Chakravuth is qualified for the position, and that the party needed younger people to assume the roles of elder party members.
“Prince Norodom Chakravuth had no official role in the party previously, but I think it’s good that Funcinpec has young leaders because [our party] has followed the leadership of Prince Norodom Ranariddh for more than 30 years. We want new blood to continue his leadership,” Bun Chhin said.
All party members fully support the new appointees, he said, adding that Funcinpec was not leaving elder members behind. He also urged younger leaders to heed the advice of senior members.
Prince Norodom Chakravuth is a French engineering graduate and the oldest son of Prince Norodom Ranariddh and his estranged wife Princess Norodom Marie Ranariddh.
Prince Ranariddh, 74, sustained serious injuries during a traffic accident in Preah Sihanouk province’s Prey Nub district in June, while his current wife Ouk Phalla succumbed to her injuries. He is recovering at a hospital in Bangkok.
Before the July 29 national elections, his party issued a statement confirming he would participate in the polls, though he never appeared in public.