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

  • PM imposes nationwide Covid restrictions, curfew over Delta scare

    Prime Minister Hun Sen late on July 28 instructed the municipal and provincial authorities nationwide to strictly enforce Covid-19 measures including curfew for two weeks from July 29 midnight through August 12 to stem the new coronavirus Delta variant. The instruction came shortly after he issued a directive

  • 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.

  • Provinces on Thai borders put in lockdown amid Delta fears

    The government has decided to place several border provinces in lockdown for two weeks in a bid to prevent the new coronavirus Delta variant spreading further into community. According a directive signed by Prime Minister Hun Sen late on July 28, the provinces include Koh Kong,

  • 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