Prince Norodom Ranariddh, president of the royalist Funcinpec party, has said recently ousted members should have solved their problem internally instead of going to court.
Speaking after a National Assembly meeting yesterday, Prince Ranariddh said it was not his decision to dismiss the members, but he did sign the dismissal letter because he didn’t want intra-party conflict.
“If people have a problem, it must be solved internally. Please don’t bring it to the court because it is against party rules,” he said.
“Anyone who wants to file a complaint, it is their right,” he added. “I do not want them to disagree with each other. If we agree with each other it’s good.”
Recently ousted Funcinpec members filed a lawsuit to Phnom Penh Municipal Court on Monday demanding their membership be reinstated.
Kim Ravy, former working group leader for Funcinpec in Siem Reap province and personal adviser to Prince Ranariddh, said yesterday he filed the complaint to the municipal court because the party did not seem to care about their dismissal.
“We did not have a resolution, so we had to take the next step,” he said. “We wanted to solve the problem internally but we didn’t believe them.”
“We demanded the court to issue an injunction to reinstate our party memberships because it was an injustice for us,” Mr Ravy added.
He said he had endured years of struggle within the party and spent tens of thousands of dollars of his own money only to be fired from the party.
“We want justice because we have not made any mistakes,” he said. “We struggled for many years without any encouragement but advantages were provided to other people.”
Y Rin, chief secretariat of the municipal court, could not be reached for comment yesterday but confirmed on Monday that the court received the complaint and would process the case as soon as possible.
“The court is reviewing that case,” he said.
Last month, seven people were stripped of their party membership without explanation including deputy secretary-general Seng Haksrun, Nop Phon, Meach Samroul, Pheap Pheach, Kan Vuthy, Suong Phally and Mr Ravy.
Their dismissals came after an intra-party conflict that centred on a petition to fire deputy party president Por Bun Sreu and secretary-general Yim Savy.
Addressed to Prince Ranariddh, it accused the two of nepotism and an inability to lead the party.
Action was taken after the petition went public.
Funcinpec party spokesman Nhep Bunchin said Prince Ranariddh stripped their membership because they had broken the party’s internal rules and compromised the party’s reputation.