The battle royale of Funcinpec looms

Amid an ongoing dispute over the leadership of royalist Funcinpec, a rival faction proposed the youngest daughter of late Father King Norodom Sihanouk, Princess Norodom Arunrasmy, as the party’s new chair, a move strongly opposed by the leadership. current party led by “interim president” Prince Norodom. Chakravuth.

Currently, Funcinpec is split into two factions – one led by late Prince Norodom Ranariddh’s half-brother Chap Nhalyvoud, and the other loyal to Prince Chakravuth.

The rival faction led by sacked party vice-presidents Heng Chantha, Say Hak, Nhep Bunchin and Phann Sithy, the party’s deputy general secretary and other party officials yesterday held a meeting of the party’s steering committee at the hotel Phnom Penh where they proposed Princess Arunrasmy as the new chairman of the party, replacing Prince Ranariddh, who died in France last month.

However, party officials loyal to “interim president” Prince Chakravuth, the eldest son of the late party chairman Prince Ranariddh, have expressed strong opposition to the move.

Sithy claimed that nine of the party’s 11 board members attended the meeting yesterday, saying he has a quorum of more than two-thirds to make decisions.

“The death of Samdech Krom Preah (Prince Ranariddh) made Funcinpec force majeure because there was no leader, so according to the electoral law and the party statute, we have to elect a new president,” he said. he declared.

Bunchin said the steering committee unanimously decided to appoint only Princess Arunrasmy as the new party chair.

“Apart from (the late Prince Ranariddh), we met and unanimously decided at the extraordinary session of the steering committee to appoint Princess Norodom Arunrasmy as the next party chairman,” he said during of a press conference last night.

“We believe that her experience, abilities and qualifications are sufficient to automatically qualify her as a leader because she once led the party,” Bunchin added.

In 2007, Princess Arunrasmy, who was previously chosen as the candidate for the post of party prime minister for the 2008 national elections, but the party won only two seats in the National Assembly. She resigned her leadership post in March 2015, paving the way for Prince Ranariddh to take over the party leadership years after her ouster as president in 2006.

Funcinpec spokesperson Nhoeun Raden said Khmer time yesterday, the group that made yesterday’s decision has no jurisdiction to make decisions.

“Some of them were fired by the party and others quit, so this afternoon’s meeting does not comply with the party’s statutes,” he said.

Raden said Prince Chakravuth had already become the party’s “interim president” until the party’s congress was held in January to elect a new president.

On December 13, Nhalyvud’s faction also held an extraordinary steering committee meeting and listed nine points in its results, including the revocation of the seal of the current party held by Prince Chakravuth.

They also rejected Prince Chakravuth’s current appointment as ‘interim president’ shortly before his father’s death, citing a previous appointment that was rejected by the Home Office in 2018.

But Raden said the party would not recognize the outcome of the extraordinary meeting, saying it was organized by those who have already lost their party membership.

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