Adultery Law To Undermine F’pec: Ranariddh

Funcinpec President Prince Noro­dom Ranariddh told supporters in Phnom Penh Saturday that the new adultery law is de­signed to undermine Funcinpec officials.

Speaking at Funcinpec headquarters after arriving from Ma­lay­­sia that morning, the embattled prince also denied that he had overspent during the 2005 South East Asian Games in Man­ila, and said he had the receipts to prove it.

“They say that [Funcinpec] is wrong under this law…that they will imprison us,” the prince said of the law criminalizing adultery.

“If imprisoned, it is a penal case, we cannot stand for election,” he said. “If seven or eight are imprisoned, we, Funcinpec, will be finished.”

He warned that the law would not be fairly implemented due to a lack of independence in the courts and the police force.

Many observers have said they be­lieve the law was drafted with Prince Ranariddh in mind. Royal­ist officials say that the prince, who remains married to Princess Marie, is in a long-term relationship with classical dancer Ouk Phalla.

On Saturday, Prince Ranariddh also responded to criticism from Prime Minister Hun Sen who said last week that the National Olympic Committee, which the prince heads, had massively overspent at the SEA Games late last year.

“The money that Samdech [Hun Sen] gave me, I did not spend carelessly,” Prince Rana­riddh said. “I spent according to the requests of the [National Olympic Committee]. I have all the receipts.”

Hun Sen said last week that the com­mittee had wasted nearly $1 mil­lion from fundraising programs that he had launched.

Prince Ranariddh also discussed Prince Sisowath Thomi­co’s fledgling Sankum Cheat Niyum Front Party with re­porters. Prince Thomico has re­peatedly called on Prince Rana­riddh to dissolve Funcinpec.

“We should not play the game to break the voice of the royalists and nationalists,” Prince Rana­riddh said. “To speak frankly, it benefits the CPP.”

According to his public affairs ad­viser Ok Socheat, the prince ar­rived at Phnom Penh Inter­na­tional Airport at 10 am and im­mediately went to the meeting at par­ty headquarters where 1,100 Funcinpec supporters were on hand to greet him.

Ok Socheat said that he had been misinformed Friday when he said the prince was already in town but was keeping a low profile.

Prince Ranariddh will leave Cam­bodia again in two weeks for a six-week trip to Europe to raise support for the party, Ok Socheat said.

Sam Rainsy, leader of the party that bears his name, said Funcin­pec will benefit from having Prince Ranariddh back. After a five-month hiatus, the prince returned to Cambodia Aug 19, only to leave again unexpectedly six days later.

“A party president must be in touch with the people,” Sam Rain­sy said. “If you do not stay in the country long enough you will not be able to solve the party’s problems,” he added.

Government spokesman and Information Minister Khieu Kan­harith said he was in Paris and declined to speak to a reporter.

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