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Royalist parties to merge regardless of prince

Royalist parties to merge regardless of prince

Top members of the two royalist parties in Cambodia have a message for Prince Norodom Ranariddh: We’re merging, with or without you.

Funcinpec and the party that bears Norodom Ranariddh’s name, NRP, plan to hold a political congress later this month to reboot merger talks that foundered in recent months over disagreements between Ranariddh and the head of Funcinpec, Nhek Bun Chhay.

Chhay and Sao Rany, secretary-general of NRP, told the Post yesterday the royalist parties will hold the congress even if Ranariddh remains opposed.

Rany has been on the outer with Ranariddh ever since he publicly urged the former prime minister to “take a break” from politics last month.

Ranariddh responded by unsuccessfully trying to strip Rany of his position and boot him out of the party, a move that failed after Rany challenged it in court.

Funcinpec will absorb the former NRP members, who will officially keep their party affiliation until the 2017 commune elections so as not to lose their current seats.

Both Chhay and Rany said that members of NRP from the grassroots level all the way up to the top of the party will participate in the congress, though a specific date has not been set.

“If Prince [Ranariddh] does not agree, it is his business, but the will of the members is that they must merge,” Rany said. “They think about their future.”

NRP spokesman Pen Sangha declined to comment, saying that he’s waiting to see any evidence that the congress is actually going to take place.

To contact the reporter on this story: Meas Sokchea at [email protected]

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