Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Ranariddh has birthday in exile with 100 in Malaysia

Ranariddh has birthday in exile with 100 in Malaysia

Ranariddh has birthday in exile with 100 in Malaysia

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Photo courtesy of NRP

Prince Norodom Ranariddh (second from right) poses in front of the camera for his 65 birthday party. On his right his girlfriend Ouk Phalla and on his left Thou Son former Mondolkiri governor, some of the numerous guests, who flew in from Cambodia.

About 100 officials of the Norodom Ranariddh Party (NRP) flew to Malaysia for the

January 2 birthday party for Prince Norodom Ranariddh, who turned 65 in self- imposed

exile in Kuala Lumpur.

Everyone who attended the party at the Shangri-La Hotel paid their own way, said

Ranariddh Anandayat, Ranariddh's public relations adviser.

Among the guests were Chim Seak Leng, deputy president of the party, and You Hockry,

secretary general of the year-old NRP, as well as active party members from 24 provinces.

Ranariddh is the candidate for prime minister of NRP, the new party he formed following

his departure from Funcinpec October 18, 2006.

Asked about the possibility of Ranariddh returning to Cambodia, Muth Chantha, NRP

spokesman, said that so far there was no clear path to return.

"We are still continuing to fight with the judiciary at the Supreme Court and

will be also seeking an amnesty from the King," Chantha said.

"We know that we will lose in the court case. But we want to show the court's

lack of independence."

Ranariddh fled to Malaysia about a year ago. In March 2007, the prince was sentenced

in absentia to 18 months in prison for allegedly pocketing funds from the sale of

the former Funcinpec headquarters while he served as Funcinpec President.

He resigned as president of the National Assembly on May 14, 2006.

Although leaders of Funcinpec have made overtures to Randariddh about setting up

a way for him to return to Cambodia and to Funcinpec, leaders of the new NRP say

they don't want Ranariddh to return because he might be put in jail.

During the visit the group developed a draft political platform. "Within our

political platform we raise the concerns about unemployment, land grabbing, illegal

immigration, un-independence of the court and the corruption issues," Anandayat

said.

Muth Chantha said that the prince is examining the platform, which will be approved

soon as the party prepares for the elections.

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