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Sirivudh advocates kindness

Sirivudh advocates kindness

Prince Norodom Sirivudh officially ascended to his new post of Funcinpec

Secretary-General on July 5 by advocating a strictly non-confrontational style

of relations with its Cambodian People's Party (CPP) coalition

partners.

Sirivudh replaced Tol Lah, who retains his positions of

Minister of Education and Deputy Prime Minister.

"We need stability and

peace but at the same time we have to strengthen ourselves through kindness of

character," Sirivudh said in an address to approximately 300 Funcinpec members

gathered at the party's Phnom Penh headquarters for the appointment ceremony.

"[A] democratic system will bring us in competition [with the CPP], but I will

say friendly competition, not violence, and this competition must absolutely not

lead to a confrontation."

The appointment marks a political rebirth for

Sirivudh, half-brother of King Norodom Sihanouk, who since receiving a Jan 1999

Royal pardon for allegedly plotting to assassinate Prime Minister Hun Sen in

February 1996, has helmed the strictly apolitical Cambodian Institute for

Co-operation and Peace.

"Sirivudh told me that he has learned from bitter

past experience and now [has] understood [that] co-operation between Funcinpec

and the CPP are neccessary," Prince Nordom Ranariddh said on July 3 of

Sirivudh's return to politics.

Sirivudh's appointment is viewed by

observers as an attempt to unify the party and boost its flagging popularity

ahead of both the Feb, 2002 commune elections and national elections in 2003.

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