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Royalist Parties Look To Unite for 2013

The royalist Funcinpec party is hoping to merge with its rival, the former eponymous party of Prince Norodom Ranariddh, to contest national elections in 2013, an official said Tuesday.

The two parties each won two seats in the National Assembly after an internal dispute that ended in division.

“We have seen that the division made us lose voices, forces and lose time,” said Keo Put Reaksmey, president of Funcinpec. “Mathematically, if we were in unity [during the last general election] we would have won more seats.”

The Norodom Ranarridh Party is now called the Nationalist Party, and is currently only in discussion with Funcinpec over merging, he said.

Led by Norodom Ranarridh, Funcinpec was a major victor in the 1993 national elections, with 58 of 120 National Assembly seats, following by the Cambodian People’s Party, which won 51. In 2008, by contrast, the CPP won 90 of 123 seats, followed by the Sam Rainsy Party’s 26.

By 2006, Funcinpec was deeply fragmented. It then split, with Norodom Ranariddh forming his own party from exile, having been found guilty for corruption.

A merging of the two rivals seems a long way off, but Keo Put Reaksmey said the two were “lobbying each other” for a compromise.

And before they are able to join in national elections, they will have to cooperate for commune elections in 2012.

Koul Panha, executive director of the Committee for Free and Fair Elections, said he appreciated the intent to merger, but said the process has been “too slow.”