CPP, Funcinpec Coalition Still a Possibility

Despite caustic pre-election criticism and inter-party relations at their coldest since the coalition government was formed in 1998, the CPP and Funcinpec have not completely ruled out a third political alignment after the July 27 election, party officials indicated on Friday.

Even if the CPP wins the two-thirds majority of seats in the National Assembly, the party prefers a coalition government, CPP President Chea Sim said on Friday.

Funcinpec’s coalition decision would wait until after the election result, though the choice of government partner hinges on the party that agrees to uphold the royalist’s pre-election promises, Funcinpec President Prince Norodom Ranariddh said on Friday.

“Even if the CPP should win, a coalition government is still needed. If Funcinpec does it or not, it’s Funcinpec’s own issue…. The CPP still needs a partner,” Chea Sim told some 500 supporters who attended the inauguration of Wat Sak Sampov in Dangkao district.

Apparently referring to Prince Ranariddh’s unbridled criticism of the CPP since the election campaign kicked off last month, Chea Sim warned that the CPP’s future partner should tone down its attacks.

“Don’t use the defamation way to draw the voters. The bitter taste is very difficult to swallow,” said Chea Sim, adding that the CPP has no ambition to be Cam­bodia’s sole rulers.

Briefing reporters at Funcinpec headquarters on Friday, Prince Ranariddh outlined his party’s plans for alleviating rural poverty and continued to finger the ruling CPP for crippling the country through massive corruption.

“In the past five years it has been very painful and I have been extremely tolerant of criticism and ill treatment from our partner,” the prince told reporters.

Asked about another coalition with the CPP, the prince said it would be difficult, but he did not rule it out.

“Let’s wait until the after the election and what the result will be. We will make a decision after that. But Funcinpec will this time choose a partner if the partner respects the agreement and our policies,” he said.

“It is difficult, maybe, to make a partnership with a party that includes no policies on the border issues and immigration issues,” he added.

The prince accused opposition party leader Sam Rainsy of secretly negotiating a coalition deal with Prime Minister Hun Sen.

However, Sam Rainsy told supporters in Svay Rieng province on Wednesday that he would not deal with Hun Sen.

“If there is Hun Sen, there is no Sam Rainsy. If there is Sam Rainsy, there is no Hun Sen,” he said.

The National Election Com­mittee also met on Friday with the directors of royalist Ta Phrom radio, 93.5 FM and the pro-Funcinpec 90 FM station to advise them to cease broadcasts deemed insulting to other political parties and end their biased election coverage.

During the meeting the three directors denied they had done anything wrong as they were private companies and were free to sell their air time to any political party.

93.5 FM Director Keo Sunkea said after the meeting with the NEC he was not aware of any regulations regarding broadcast content during the election period.

“I did not receive any official letter from the NEC and I cannot accept this,” said Keo Sunkea, adding he was not pro-Sam Rainsy, as anyone could buy air time from his station.

Ta Phrom Director Heng Sokhun said he would follow his contract with Prince Ranariddh and not the NEC’s advice.

“My station is private…I need the money to support and continue my operation,” Heng Sokhun said.

It is unclear what authority the NEC has to enforce its rules of conduct among private media outlets.

Funcinpec Minister of Info­rmation Lu Laysreng has vowed to defend Ta Phrom radio from NEC sanctions saying the election committee should take action against pro-CPP stations.

(Additional reporting by Kay Kimsong)

 

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