Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Funcinpec, KNUP parties one step closer to reuniting

Funcinpec, KNUP parties one step closer to reuniting

Content image - Phnom Penh Post
Funcinpec and Khmer National United Party leaders are discussing a potential merger. Rasmei Kampuchea Daily

Funcinpec, KNUP parties one step closer to reuniting

The royalist Funcinpec and the Khmer National United Party (KNUP) are a step closer to merging after their top leaders met to review their respective party compositions and discuss statutes as well as internal regulations.

Funcinpec’s newly appointed spokesman Phan Sothy told The Post on Thursday that if the merger goes ahead, the two parties will function under the name Funcinpec.

Sothy said Funcinpec president Prince Norodom Ranariddh and KNUP head Nhek Bun Chhay met on Wednesday to work out the details.

During the meeting, he said the prince and Bun Chhay focused mainly on unification between the two parties’ supporters and the creation of a committee made up of three members from each party.

The committee, he said, is formed to review statutes and internal regulations before the merger to avoid conflicting issues that led to their last “divorce” in 2016.

Bun Chhay was formerly a senior official of the Funcinpec, which was then led by Prince Ranariddh.

After their first breakup in 2006, Prince Ranariddh formed a new party named after himself while Bun Chhay continued to lead Funcinpec.

Two years after losing the 2013 national elections, the prince and Bun Chhay reunited, with the former reinstated as Funcinpec president. But in 2016, Bun Chhay defected from Funcinpec to form the KNUP.

Sothy said the two sides were working to finalise details. “Both parties have agreed to set up a technical team or technical committee to prepare legal documents for this merger.

“The KNUP has sent three candidates, but Funcinpec has not nominated anyone yet. We are still preparing a composition for this merger,” he said.

KNUP president Bun Chhay hung up on a reporter when contacted for comment on Thursday. But he was previously quoted by Rasmei Kampuchea Daily as saying on Wednesday that his meeting with the prince touched on unification.

“This latest merger, if it goes through, will be different from the previous three. This time we are following a five-point principle. First, we only induct those who are loyal to the party and Prince Norodom Ranariddh.

“Second, we select only those who are qualified and have leadership experience. Third and fourth, we consider their popularity and performance. Lastly, we will only select those who support the merger as some do not want us to do so.

“The statute and internal regulations must also follow democratic principles so that the party can be led in such a manner with no partisanship, nepotism and corruption,” he said.

Bun Chhay pointed out that both parties agreed to reinstate Prince Ranariddh as Funcinpec president.

Political analyst Em Sovannara said Prince Ranariddh’s popularity would be a boon to the new merger, though he said the prince might not be able to lead the party for long considering his poor health.

He was also sceptical that the merger would last as the prince had already handed over control to his son.

“If the prince’s son starts to be more active in politics and the people know him better in the absence of the Supreme Court-dissolved Cambodia National Rescue Party, he can hopefully restore Funcinpec’s popularity,” he said.

MOST VIEWED

  • Research key to Kanitha’s rep for expertise

    Sok Kanitha is used to weighing in on controversial issues using a confident approach that signals expertise and authority, and a recent video she made was no exception. Her “Episode 342: The History of NATO” video went live on January 16, 2023 and immediately shot to 30,000 likes and 3,500

  • Cambodia maintains 'Kun Khmer' stance despite Thailand’s boycott threat

    Cambodia has taken the position that it will use the term "Kun Khmer" to refer to the sport of kickboxing at the upcoming Southeast Asian (SEA) Games, and has removed the term Muay from all references to the sport. Despite strong reactions from the Thai

  • Knockout! Kun Khmer replaces ‘Muay’ for Phnom Penh Games

    Cambodia has decided to officially remove the word Muay from the programme of the 32nd Southeast Asian (SEA) Games 2023 in May. “Kun Khmer” will instead be used to represent the Southeast Asian sport of kickboxing, in accordance with the wishes of the Cambodian people. Vath

  • Artificial insemination takes herd from 7 to 700

    Some farms breed local cows or even import bulls from a broad for the purpose of breeding heavier livestock for meat production. One Tbong Khnum farmer has found a more efficient way. Hout Leang employs artificial insemination to fertilise local cows. Thanks to imported “straws”

  • New int’l airport nearly half complete as travel industry returns to life

    Construction of a new airport that is slated to serve the capital has passed the 43 per cent completion mark, raising prospects for a proper recovery in the civil aviation and tourism sectors as international travellers return to the Kingdom in increasingly large numbers. The figure

  • Chinese group tours return to Cambodia starting Feb 6

    Cambodia is among 20 countries selected by Beijing for a pilot programme allowing travel agencies to provide international group tours as well as flight and hotel packages to Chinese citizens, following a three-year ban. As the days tick down until the programme kicks off on February 6,