Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Ranariddh may lose his NA post

Ranariddh may lose his NA post

Ranariddh may lose his NA post

PRIME Minister Hun Sen will not allow Prince Norodom Ranariddh to retain his position

as President of the National Assembly in the new government, according to notes of

a meeting obtained by the Post.

The meeting was held at Hun Sen's Takhmau residence on July 4 and attended by several

senior CPP figures as well as the representatives of several dozen pro-CPP NGOs (see

story page 6). At the meeting Hun Sen talked about a range of election-related issues.

The Prime Minister told the meeting that if Funcinpec lost the election, Ranariddh

would be ousted from the post. He did not indicate who would take his place, but

there is speculation that the ruling party's honorary president, Heng Samrin, could

be in line for the job in the next government.

"If the CPP wins the election, Hun Sen will be Prime Minister and Ranariddh

will not be head of the Parliament, but simply an ordinary MP," the notes quote

the Prime Minister as saying.

"If the CPP wins, we will let Ranariddh resign ... Ranariddh can be removed

from the party because he has taken out members of his own party [so he too can be

removed]," the notes continued.

But Funcinpec's secretary-general, Prince Norodom Sirivudh, would not entertain speculation

about Ranariddh's future. He told the Post on July 31 that as there were no plans

for a coalition, it was premature to discuss positions within one.

The July 4 meeting notes provide a revealing glimpse into the coalition tensions.

At one point, Hun Sen endorsed the monarchy, but suggested the country follow the

Thai model. Unlike here, none of the Thai king's immediate family is politically

active.

"If we would like to give value to the monarchy, those descendants of the monarch

should not be involved in politics," he said.

And Hun Sen made no secret of his ire at Ranariddh's strident invective against both

him and the CPP in the lead-up to polling day.

One of the people who attended the July 4 meeting was NGO leader and long-time CPP

ally Chea Chamroeun. He explained that there were two reasons why Ranariddh would

lose his position: one, because he had overstepped the boundaries in his criticisms

of Hun Sen; two, because he had not respected the coalition agreement.

One well-placed political analyst consulted by the Post said the move to undermine

Ranariddh would likely be welcomed within the royalist party as a way of solving

its own leadership issues. He added that it would also make the party's founder,

King Norodom Sihanouk, "very happy".

He felt it was likely that either Samrin or current Senate President and CPP Chairman

Chea Sim would replace the Prince in the National Assembly. If Chea Sim got the job,

he said, Samrin would likely take the deputy slot with a co-deputy position offered

to a member of the CPP's new coalition partner, which would still likely be Funcinpec.

"The Prince would move to the Senate presidency and it would be made clear to

him that his political life was over," he surmised. "He could keep his

luxurious life and be prepared to become the next King, but he would be told it is

time to keep quiet."

Under Ranariddh's leadership, Funcinpec has suffered a further slump in support.

Figures available at press time from the National Election Committee (NEC) show the

royalists have lost more than 10 percent of their voters since 1998, and dropped

17 seats.

The party slipped to number two in 1998 after winning the UNTAC monitored election

in 1993. The NEC's figures suggest that it attracted fewer votes than the opposition

Sam Rainsy Party (SRP), pushing it into the number three position by vote count.

The Prince's leadership was further compromised last year when members pushing to

oust the unpopular co-Minister of Interior, You Hokry, failed in their bid to replace

him with Khan Savoeun. Ranariddh proved unable-and according to the notes of the

Hun Sen meeting, unwilling-to remove Hokry.

MOST VIEWED

  • No more Africa travel ban but new rules for arrivals

    The Ministry of Health has decided to lift the ban on travellers from or who have travelled through 10 African countries and instead issued a set of standard operating procedures to manage passenger arrivals at Cambodia’s international airports. The 10 African countries are Botswana, Eswatini, Lesotho,

  • Prince Norodom Ranariddh passes away at 77

    Prince Norodom Ranariddh, the second son of the late King Father Norodom Sihanouk and former First Prime Minister of Cambodia, has passed away in France at the age of 77. “Samdech Krom Preah Norodom Ranariddh has passed away this morning in France just after 9am Paris-time,”

  • Cambodia purchases 4 million Molnupiravir tablets

    Cambodia has arranged for the purchase of four million US-made Molnupiravir pills – enough to treat 100,000 Covid-19 patients – even though the current rate of daily infections in Cambodia remains low. The medicine will be distributed to state hospitals, pharmacies and private clinics, according to the Samdech

  • Rise in planned flights lifts travel hopes

    Six airlines have applied to resume flights in December, while two others have put in for additional flights and routes, according to State Secretariat of Civil Aviation (SSCA) head Mao Havannall on November 29. These account for 43 new weekly domestic and international flights in December, up 16

  • Is Cambodia’s travel sector in for another cheerless holiday season?

    The travel and tourism sector was heaving back to life as borders started to reopen, promising a festive vibe for the holidays and New Year. But Omicron and other Covid-related issues are threatening to close the year on a bleak note ‘Seems [like] Covid-19 won’

  • PM blasts Vietnam general over Covid claims

    Prime Minister Hun Sen on December 6 expressed dismay after Vietnamese general Hoang Xuan Chien, formerly in charge of Vietnam’s border defences, claimed that Cambodia was a source of Covid-19 transmissions to the country. Speaking at the opening ceremony for National Road 11 connecting Prey Veng