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Funcinpec Reacts to an Appeal to Dissolve the Party

A top FUNCINPEC party official Monday calls the appeal to resolve the royalist party a contempt on former King Norodom Sihanouk who was its founder.

Last Sunday, Sangkum Reast Niyum's leader, Prince Sisowath Thomico urged FUNCINPEC president Norodom Ranariddh to dissolve the royalist party before next year's local election.

Funcinpec's general secretary, Nhek Bun Chhay told VOA that Prince Thomico's appeal is a political maneuver to divide this party and get the votes for his newly formed party. He says that this appeal is a form of looking down on the Funcinpec party, on those who have sacrificed their lives for the nation, religion, and the King, and that even though the Funcinpec party is facing internal conflicts, it cannot be dissolved.

Cambodia Center for Human Rights' (CCHR) director, Kem Sokha says that Prince Thomico's action is to get Prince Ranariddh's popularity, and that it is a farce that the two royalist parties should have conflicts. He says that Prince Thomico forms a new party in order to grab the royalist's role, meaning competing with Prince Norodom Ranariddh.

Kul Panha, Director of Cambodian election monitoring group, Comfrel, says that political parties' competition leads to mud slingings, therefore Prince Thomico's suggestion is to get Prince Ranariddh's party's popularity.

Prince Thomico claims that he is a royalist and his party is also a royalist party. Mr. Kul Panha says that there are two royalist parties, and that in this case one has to go.

Prime Minister Hun Sen's Cambodian People's Party (CPP), and opposition Sam Rainsy party (SRP) used to announce in the past that hundreds of Funcinpec members joined them.

Observers say that those who defect to the CPP want to keep their positions in the government, and those who defect to SRP want to help promote democracy.

Currently Funcinpec party is facing internal conflicts. Some of its members criticize Prince Ranariddh's leadership. Prince Ranariddh who just returned from France recently, left the country again last week.