PHNOM PENH —
Prince Norodom Ranarridh, leader of the royalist party Funcinpec, says he has offered support to Prime Minister Hun Sen, to verify Cambodia’s maps in its demarcation discussions over the Vietnam border.
The prince told reporters Friday he does not believe the opposition Cambodia National Rescue Party should be supported in its attacks on border demarcation and alleged Vietnamese encroachment into Cambodian territory.
The maps used by the government, led by the ruling Cambodian People’s Party, are consistent with official maps of the UN and France, he said. Funcipec officials have also verified the accuracy of the government maps, he said. “I don’t support the CNRP. I support the prime minster.”
Prime Minister Hun Sen has warned the opposition to stop accusing the ruling party of using “fake” maps, and at least one Rescue Party senator is currently in jail, charged with posting a false map of the border online. The Rescue Party has been pushing the CPP to stop alleged border encroachment, a thorny political issue that has eroded much of the goodwill the two sides built during political negotiations last year.
Norodom Ranarridh, a former rival of Hun Sen who is trying to lead Funcinpec out of political obscurity, told reporters that the goddess Tevoda is “cursing those ones who have done bad deeds,” regarding the border issue. “Some people are running away from the country, while the rest are in prison,” he said.
Rescue Party spokesman Yim Sovann said Norodom Ranarridh appears to be backing the ruling party, but he does not consider his party a worthy political rival. “The only competitor of the CNRP is the Cambodian People’s Party,” he said. The Rescue Party’s political positions will be tested in the 2018 national election, he said.
Kem Ley, a political analyst, said Funcinpec, once the most popular party in Cambodia, has become a “satellite” of the CPP. “Funcinpec has lost its original elements and sources to be a political party.”