The royalist Funcinpec party and Khmer National United Party have agreed to merge after top leaders of both parties met several times to sort out the issue in Phnom Penh.
KNUP president Nhek Bun Chhay yesterday said that Funcinpec president Prince Norodom Ranariddh agreed to merge Funcinpec with the KNUP with the prince at the helm.
“Prince Ranariddh and I agreed to merge both parties following our meeting by using Funcinpec as the lead,” Mr Bun Chhay said. “Both sides agreed to keep Prince Ranariddh as party president.”
No exact schedule of the merger has been announced as both parties work out remaining issues.
Mr Bun Chhay said that the KNUP appointed three senior officials, vice president Oum Somontha, secretary-general Sok Visal and cabinet chief Ros Chheng, to continue to iron out technical issues with Funcinpec before an official merger materialises.
“My officials will discuss the merging process very soon with Funcinpec officials,” Mr Bun Chhay said.
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 shut out in the 2013 election. It won no seat in the July 2018 national election. KNUP also won no seat.
Mr Bun Chhay said that both parties’ officials should be willing to work together.
“We need officials who are capable, efficient, and popular. We need those who have intention to unite,” Mr Bun Chhay said. “I believe that this merger will not be the same as the previous one. We will not allow cronyism and corruption to exist in the party.”
Phan Sothy, Funcinpec’s deputy secretary-general, said on Wednesday that the party will also appoint three senior party officials to work with the KNUP.
“We have experienced breakaways three times, so we will not allow it to happen again,” Mr Sothy said. “We hope that we will be united and not split again.”