>No Abdication for King: Sihanouk

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09 June 2008

Former king Norodom Sihanouk (pictured) said Monday there was no plan for his son, King Norodom Sihamoni, to abdicate the throne, but he said the royal family does have a plan if ever the monarchy is abolished.

“This is not an abdication, but an exile without protestation, if Phnom Penh would abolish the monarchy,” Sihanouk wrote in a letter issued Monday by the Royal Palace.

Sihanouk said in a letter Friday the monarchy had a chance of being deposed, but in that case his son would return to France and he would live in another country. He asked that his name not be used in association with the founding of the coalition party, Funcinpec, and that politics put the throne “under risk.”

“In waiting for this abolition, we thought a long time ago about following a plan,” Sihanouk wrote Monday.

In the meantime, the royal family would remain in Cambodia through the election period, leaving Aug. 1 to attend the opening ceremony of the Beijing Olympics.

“After that King Sihamoni will have a general check-up at the central hospital of the state in Beijing,” Sihanouk wrote. “After the check-up he will return to Cambodia. My wife and I will continue to stay for some period in Beijing to have general check-ups and medical treatment.”

Government spokesman Khieu Kanharith declined to comment on the message.

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