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Royals Ponder Future in Wake of Defections

Prince Sisowath Thomico, one of several politicking royals, said he would hold a joint press conference Wednesday between Funcinpec and Norodom Ranariddh Party officials, following a series of political defections in recent weeks.

Funcinpec is the ruling party's coalition partner; the Nordom Ranariddh Party is the eponymous endeavor of Funcinpec's former president; and Thomico himself dabbled with a small party in this year's commune elections. Now, less than a year before national elections, royalty's loyalties have become increasingly hard to divine.

In recent weeks, Funcinpec has said it is welcoming a number of NRP officials, including top leaders, into its ranks. Thomico has already moved from his own party to the NRP to Funcinpec.

Thomico said Tuesday the press conference would answer serious questions about future of a royalist movement.

"The royalist party members who participated in the commune elections in April 2007 were seriously defeated," Thomico said. "So the question is, should there be a royalist movement, a royalist party, or not? If the royalist party will exist still, how should we go about it?"