Prince Norodom Ranariddh on Friday renewed calls for a democratic coalition of his Norodom Ranariddh Party (NRP) with the Sam Rainsy Party (SRP) in the lead- up to next year's election, local media reported Monday.
"I ask His Excellency Sam Rainsy to announce his commitment to unite with other nationalists, royalists and democrats to join into one family to unite nationalist forces to compete in 2008," English-Khmer language newspaper the Cambodia Daily quoted Ranariddh as saying in Prey Veng province by telephone from Malaysia.
The prince, who has remained abroad since his sentence in March to 18 months in absentia for breach of trust over the sale of the former Funcinpec headquarters, made a similar call to form an alliance of democrats earlier this year, which bore no results.
SRP Secretary-General Eng Chhay Eang said that his party is at least for now not interested in the idea of a coalition with the NRP, claiming that the prince just wants to build political capital.
"The SRP does not want to fall into the prince's trap again," he said.
Information Minister and government spokesman Khieu Kanharith disregarded the notion as a threat to the ruling Cambodian People' s Party (CPP).
"We want to laugh. The prince has no new ideas," he added.
According to the law, Ranariddh has to serve his terms if he wants to return to Cambodia to restart his political career.
CPP has been governing the kingdom in cooperation with Funcinpec for years. Ranariddh was ousted as Funcinpec president in October 2006 for neglecting party affairs.
CPP and Funcinpec have recently appointed their premiership candidtes for the 2008 general election.