Ranariddh elected Funcinpec leader

Ranariddh elected Funcinpec leader

PHNOM PENH — Cambodia's Prince Norodom Ranariddh was elected Monday as president of the royalist Funcinpec party, nine years after he was toppled as its leader.

Cambodian Prince Norodom Ranariddh (right) and his younger sister Princess Norodom Arunrasmey, former president of the Funcinpec party, hold up their hands during a congress in Phnom Penh on Monday. (EPA photo)

The election was held at the party's congress in Phnom Penh, with the participation of 2,200 members.

The 71-year-old prince, a son of the late King Norodom Sihanouk, led Funcinpec from 1993 until 2006 when he was toppled, prompting a split in the party.

He announced his retirement from politics in August 2012 but reversed that decision in June last year, saying he was returning "to mobilise royalists, to protect royalists and to serve the nation".

Speaking at Monday's party congress, the prince said he could not "stay idle and ignore" matters of critical importance to the nation as well as the social problems faced by the Cambodian people. He also promised to do what he can to safeguard the country's territorial integrity and bring it prosperity.

The prince's half-sister, Princess Arunrasmey, was elected Funcinpec's first vice president and Nhek Bunchay the second vice president.

Arunrasmey, who prior to the election was the party's president, said bringing Ranariddh back into the party fold is intended to reunite the country's divided royalists and promote "monarchism, Sihanoukism and nationalism".

On Jan 2, Nhek Bunchay, who prior to the election was the party's secretary general, revealed that the deal to restore the prince to his position was actually brokered by Prime Minister Hun Sen, who he said seeks reconciliation among the royalists.

In the 2013 election, the Cambodian People's Party of Hun Sen won 68 seats in the 123-seat legislature, while opposition Cambodia National Rescue Party, led by Sam Rainsy and Kem Sokha, won the remaining 55 seats.

Funcinpec's fortunes have declined since it won 58 seats in the 1993 election, winning only 43 in 1998, 26 in 2003, two in 2008 and none in 2013. The next election will be held in 2018.

Ranariddh was "first prime minister" in a dual-premier, power-sharing arrangement with Hun Sen after the 1993 general election, only to be ousted by the latter in a bloody military coup in 1997.

Do you like the content of this article?

President Biden to attend Asean-US summit on Tuesday

BANDAR SERI BEGAWAN: US President Joe Biden will attend a meeting with the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean) on Tuesday, the US embassy in Brunei told Reuters.

25 Oct 2021

UN: World greenhouse gas levels hit record last year

GENEVA: Greenhouse gas concentrations hit a record last year and the world is "way off track" on climate goals, the UN weather agency said on Monday, showing the scale of the task facing governments scrambling to avert dangerous levels of warming.

25 Oct 2021

Indonesia in talks to buy Merck's Covid-19 antiviral pill

JAKARTA: Indonesia is "finalising" a deal with Merck & Co to procure its experimental antiviral pills, named molnupiravir, to treat Covid-19 ailments, Health Minister Budi Gunadi Sadikin said on Monday.

25 Oct 2021