Original report from Phnom Penh
09 September 2008
Khmer audio aired 09 September 2008 (1.21 MB) – Listen (MP3)
|Prince Sisowath Thomico says he is seeking to keep royal family members politically relevant.|
[Editor’s note: With two fractured royalist parties coming out of the national election, Prince Sisowath Thomico, a cousin of King Norodom Sihamoni, says he has a plan to revive the royal name. With Norodom Ranariddh running his self-named party from exile, and Funcinpec winning only two seats in July’s election, Prince Thomico has announced he wants to establish a unifying party. He sat for an interview with VOA Khmer at his cabinet office at the Royal Palace in Phnom Penh.]
Q. You have a plan to set up a new political party, following the formation of a new government later this month. What is the main purpose of this party?
A. I have a plan to find a way not to disqualify the voice of the royalists. And I must set up a new party, but it is not clear how I can set up the new party.
Q. How will you set up the new party?
A. I want to remind people of the royalist stance. Currently, the principle of the royalists is not interpreted clearly. That’s why the voice of royalists has been disqualified and there is disunity among the royalists. Because there is no clear ideology, no clear theory, no clear principle, and no clear stance. Right now the royalist side has only individual principles, individual theories, and individual stances.
Q. You set up the Sangkum Jatiniyum Front Party in 2006, but later you gave up on the party and joined the Norodom Ranariddh Party, and then Funcinpec. Why do you want a new party?
A. Because now Funcinpec and the Norodom Ranariddh Party have weakened, endangering the Cambodian royal family in politics. I recognize my political process failed in unifying the royalists. I also recognize I lost to [NRP Secretary-General] You Hockry and [Funcinpec Secretary-General] Nhiek Bunchhay, who are the leaders disunifying the royalists. I cannot let the royalists lose. I must find a way to put value to the royal family and royalists once again.
Q. How will your planned party help promote the honor and prestige of the royal family and the royalists in the Cambodian political arena?
A. When the Khmer royal family becomes the national symbol, especially in the political sense, and when the royal family serves the king to protect the national culture and works hard to show the big national problem. I hope to do so. I hope and believe all walks of Khmer citizens can unify together to protect the border, sovereignty and culture. My stance is that the royal family and the royalists can join in unity under the king and the government to show the national problem.