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Prince on Visit to US To Explain Opposition Policy

Senior member of National Rescue Party Prince Sisowath Thomico, center, poses for photographs with villagers during his visit to Boeung Kak lake, in Phnom Penh, file photo.

Prince Sisowath Thomico, a member of the Cambodia National Rescue Party, is in the US to help find more support for the opposition and explain its policies in recent election reform negotiations with the ruling party.

He will be defending the opposition’s entry into the National Assembly against critics who say they have given in to the ruling Cambodian People’s Party politics, he said in a phone interview.

The Rescue Party is not joining with the CPP “at all,” he said, but is working to reform the system from within, particularly the election law and the law on the appointment of the National Election Committee.

“If the CNRP had not entered parliament, there would have been no possibility to reform the two laws,” he said.

The Rescue Party is not joining with the CPP, he said, as the royalist party Funcinpec once did, a move that led to its political demise. “I’m sorry, it’s not going to happen like that,” he said.

“The CNRP is not joining to cooperate with the CPP, at all,” he said. “Reforming the law does not mean cooperation, at all.”

Both sides have nearly fully agreed on a negotiated version of the laws, but they must still be adopted by the National Assembly, he said.

Divisions remain on how voter identification will work, but there will be laws in place to protect election results by 2018, he said.

Sisowath Thomico arrived Jan. 22 for a two-month tour of the US, where he will mostly tour the states and explain the Rescue Party’s strategy to supporters. He is not scheduled to meet with US government officials, he said.