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Letter slams Ranariddh over Funcinpec leadership

Prince Norodom Ranariddh, president of Funcinpec, and Nhek Bun Chhay, the party’s secretary-general, talk after a meeting of the royalist party on Koh Pich last year.
Prince Norodom Ranariddh, president of Funcinpec, and Nhek Bun Chhay, the party’s secretary-general, talk after a meeting of the royalist party on Koh Pich last year. Meas Sokchea

Letter slams Ranariddh over Funcinpec leadership

An anonymous letter was posted on a local news portal yesterday purporting to be from royalist Funcinpec party members nostalgic for the days of the party’s founder, the late King Norodom Sihanouk, and fed up with current party leader Prince Norodom Ranariddh.

Ranariddh has been struggling for some time with discontent within his party, which currently has no seats in parliament.

The letter, posted to Fresh News, maintains that Funcinpec is heading for disaster, and lays blame with the prince.

It levels four grievances at Ranariddh: his supposed failure to properly commemorate victims of the 1997 coup; abandoning the party by stepping down in 2006 (he returned last January); supporting a 2003 amendment to the constitution lowering the votes needed for the passage of new laws from two-thirds to 50 per cent plus one; and for apparently distasteful changes to Funcinpec’s logo.

The three-page missive also details five examples of Ranariddh’s inability to get along with deputy party president Nhek Bun Chhay, with whom he has quarrelled for years.

Bun Chhay denied any connection to the letter, but did allow that many of its points align with his own.

“I am reading [the letter]. I don’t know who issued it. In Funcinpec, there are a lot of people and there are a lot of [supporters of King Sihanouk],” said Bun Chhay.

For his part, the prince has said he will not comment on the anonymous letter, which he claims not to have read.

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