Cambodia Prince Chakravuth’s faction rejects rivals’ concerns over Funcinpec
Ben Sokhean Khmer Times Wed, February 2, 2022
The current royalist Funcinpec yesterday lashed out at a rival faction which voiced concern about the decline of the party under the leadership of Prince Norodom Chakravuth ahead of the Commune Election.
The rival faction claimed that an unsolved internal conflict will weaken the party and this could result in its failure to register candidates in all the communes just as happened in the previous sub-national elections.
The 5th mandate of the Commune Election will be held on Sunday, June 5. In all 1,652 communes in Phnom Penh and the 24 provinces, a total of 11,622 commune council seats will be up for grabs.
However, Funcinpec spokesman Nhoeun Raden said yesterday that local party members and supporters remain united under the leadership of Prince Chakravuth.
“We are not divided at the grassroots level, especially since we have structured in all areas, from the provincial, district and commune levels, so the candidacy for the upcoming elections is already in our hands,” he said.
Phann Sithy, spokesman for the rival faction which claims to control the party’s steering committee, said that as the election approaches, he believes the party won’t be able to register candidates in all the communes.
He blamed the trouble on Prince Chakravuth’s faction, saying it has no intention of uniting with his faction despite a call made by the Ministry of Interior.
“I think the commune council candidates registration will close in the next few months. Maybe the number of candidates will not be high as before,” he said.
“The first problem is that they (Prince Chakravuth’s faction) did not go to the grassroots to guide officials to select candidates. The same group of party officials just held meetings with 20 to 30 people,” Sithy said.
He said the grassroots members want to see Funcinpec to unite and make the party stronger.
“If we cannot put candidates in all communes, how can the members vote for our party,” he said. “On the other hand, there will not be enough candidates to select because we did not go down to introduce nominees to the members. Local leaders want unity as soon as possible.
The rival faction also consists of sacked party vice-presidents Heng Chantha, Say Hak and Nhep Bunchin. Sithy, the party’s deputy secretary-general, and others have said Prince Chakravuth’s aunt Princess Norodom Arunrasmy is the right person to lead the party due to her political experience.
However, Raden yesterday rejected Sithy’s concern, saying the party’s General Secretariat has been actively working with all provincial executive committees to recruit commune council candidates.
“Now we are collecting data, in which we have received a large number of candidates and are preparing for an Extraordinary Congress,” he added.
“Acting president” Prince Chakravuth has set February 9 for the Extraordinary Congress to elect the party’s leadership, amend the party bylaw and set out Funcinpec’s political strategy.
“Recently, Prince Chakravuth has been visiting the grassroots to seek candidates for commune council seats. In particular, he has shown his face to the provincial and district party leaders,” Raden said.
He said Funcinpec’s target is to register candidates in the majority of the 1,652 communes in Phnom Penh and the 24 provinces. He said most party members remain loyal to the current leadership.
“They expressed their loyalty to him and obeyed the advice given by the late Prince Norodom Ranariddh (for his son to succeed him). The officials in the capital and provinces did not defect to any parties, but remained loyal to Funcinpec,” Raden noted. “Funcinpec strongly believes that it will organise candidates in almost all communes across the country as planned.”
SOURCE: Khmer Times, Cambodia Wed, February 2, 2022