The royalist Funcinpec party and Khmer National United Party may merge, after leaders of both parties have met twice to discuss the issue.
Nhek Bun Chhay, KNUP president, yesterday said that he met with Funcinpec president Prince Norodom Ranariddh on September 13 and 18. Mr Bun Chhay said Prince Ranariddh told him that royalists should join together.
“On September 13, Prince Ranariddh repeated three times that Sihanoukists and royalists should merge together to help the people and country,” Mr Bun Chhay said, noting that he agreed.
He added that during a meeting on September 18, Prince Rinariddh repeated two more times about how Sihanoukists and royalists should merge.
Mr Bun Chhay added that he met Prince Ranariddh along with Heng Chantha, Funcinpec party’s vice president.
“I think that both parties will merge soon,” Mr Bun Chhay said.
Run Meatra, KNUP’s spokesman, said that he supports the idea of a merger.
“I think merging both parties will be good because both parties have similar policies,” Mr Meatrea said.
Nop Sothearith, Funcinpec party’s spokesman, dismissed the discussions.
“Prince Ranariddh did not say it like what His Excellency Nhek Bun Chhay has said,” Mr Sothearith said. “Funcinpec has not planned to merge with KNUP.”
Mr Bun Chhay split from Funcinpec in 2015 and formed the KNUP.
Funcinpec has become weaker and weaker, as it won 43 seats in the 1998 election, 26 seats in 2003 and just two in 2008 before being shutout in the 2013 election and also won no seat in the July 29, 2018 national election.
KNUP also won no seat in parliament in last year’s national election.