Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Student group stakes claim to Ranariddh's divided party

Student group stakes claim to Ranariddh's divided party

Student group stakes claim to Ranariddh's divided party

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090130_03.jpg

NRP officials condemn students for ‘defaming' retired Prince Norodom Ranariddh as royalist party falls further into disarray.

Photo by:

HENG CHIVOAN 

Prince Norodom Ranariddh shown here in a file photograph.

ACAMBODIAN student group claimed ownership of the Norodom Ranariddh Party (NRP) Thursday, urging current leaders to defect and arguing that they have no firm strategy for carrying the party forward.

Sun Sokun Mealea, a member of the Democratic Front of Khmer Students and Intellectuals and a central committee member of the NRP, emphasised the historical links between the royalist party and the Democratic Front, dismissing reports of her defection to the Cambodian People's Party (CPP)

"I have not defected to any party. [The NRP] is my party. I used to be deputy president of the Khmer Front Party," she said.

"We must remain in order to protect the party that we gave birth to and to preserve our ideals for the nation."

The NRP took its current shape in 2006 when the Khmer Front Party, formed from the Democratic Front, backed Ranariddh and adopted his name for the party.

Her comments follow accusations by the NRP that the student group had defamed former party leader Prince Norodom Ranariddh, who retired from politics in October and whose connection with the party has been a matter of ongoing contention.

Sun Sokun Mealea said Ranariddh's retirement effectively left ownership of the party in the hands of the Democratic Front.

Kim Sok, a spokesman for the Democratic Front and a member of the NRP, told the Post Wednesday that the student group had lost faith in Ranariddh and the NRP's current leadership.

NRP officials were unavailable for comment Thursday, but the party issued a statement Wednesday condemning the student group and accusing it of defaming Ranariddh.

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