FUNCINPEC plans to hold its party congress in January with plans to elevate Prince Norodom Chakravuth – the eldest son of the late Prince Norodom Ranariddh – to the party’s presidency in advance of the fifth mandate commune council elections in June.
FUNCINPEC spokesman Nhoeun Raden told The Post on December 12 that prior to his death, Prince Ranariddh appointed Chakravuth as head of the party in his absence.
He said the leaders of the party already recognised Chakravuth as its leader but needed to fulfil its obligations in accordance with law and the Ministry of Interior rules and regulations. Therefore, the party will hold a congress in January to vote Chakravuth in as party president.
“We will hold [the party congress] in January because the law clearly states that after an absence of the party president for 60 days, the party must elect a new leader in order to contest the commune council elections in 2022 and the general election in 2023,” he added.
He said he expected that the party would gain popularity and support from the people because Chakravuth has long followed in the footsteps of his father as an intellectual, while also being younger so he will have more energy to campaign on the party’s behalf.
However, Em Sovannara, professor of political science at the Royal Academy of Cambodia, was of the view that the upcoming party congress would do little to improve FUNCINPEC’s popularity or support because Chakravuth’s name was not very familiar to the average Cambodian and he would need to do more to build trust with them.
“I think the party will be hard to rebuild without a clear platform for people to support. [Chakravuth] isn’t well-known and hasn’t been very active.
“He hasn’t been attentive to the needs of citizens and if he campaigns for their support, they will want to know where the value in supporting him is since he’s not been actively helping them,” he said.