The extraordinary congress of FUNCINPEC has unanimously elected Prince Norodom Chakravuth as party president. He will follow in the footsteps of his father, the late Prince Norodom Ranariddh, and lead the party in the 5th mandate commune council elections.
The congress, which was held on February 9, also announced the appointment of three party vice-presidents: Chhoeng Chamroeun, Por Bun Sreu and PovIeng Ky. A 54-member board of directors was also chosen.
“The congress gives its full backing to Prince Chakravuth ... to mobilise all royalists, Sihanoukists, democrats and patriots to contribute to the development of the nation,” the decision said, referring to the late King Father Norodom Sihanouk.
“All members of the congress resolve to unite behind the leadership of the prince under the umbrella of FUNCINPEC. We are determined not to be divided and will adhere to the spirit of national unity as decreed by the late King Father and by the last wishes of Prince Ranariddh,” it added.
FUNCINPEC also privately decided on its strategic theme and planned some key policies that would encourage members, supporters and the general Cambodian people to vote for FUNCINPEC in the June 5 elections.
Prince Chakravuth expressed his gratitude to the congress for its unanimous decision.
“I solemnly declare in the presence of the congress that I will defend FUNCINPEC so that the party achieves immortality in the procession led by my late King [Sihanouk] and my late prince father,” he said.
“I am going to reunite the former royalists, Sihanoukists and Ranariddhists, so that the party can return to its former levels of success,” he added.
Party spokesman Nhoeun Raden told The Post that FUNCINPEC had found a good internal consensus following the congress.
A number of former rivals and officials attended the congress, most notably Bun Sreu, who had previously voiced different ideas for the party’s direction. He was elected as vice-president.
Raden added that recently, Heng Chantha – a former vice-president of the party who marched with the late Prince Ranariddh – wrote a letter of support for Prince Chakravuth, which demonstrates the newfound unity in the party.
The party will continue to welcome other officials and dignitaries to return and reunite with the party, he said.
“The unanimous vote for Prince Chakravuth was in accordance with the wishes of the late prince, who is known to have said that he wished [Chakravuth] to succeed him.
“The prince is the only qualified successor to Prince Ranariddh because he is both an intellectual and an outstanding young man. Within Cambodian society, leaders at all levels understand clearly that he is the only suitable candidate,” he said.