An expansion of the powerful CPP central committee and words of support for continuing close relations with Prince Norodom Ranariddh’s Funcinpec launched the ruling CPP’s three-day annual congress on Monday.
CPP President Chea Sim declared the party’s full support for Prime Minister Hun Sen’s increasingly close cooperation with Funcinpec.
Speaking to 870 CPP officials at Phnom Penh’s Mondial Center, which hosted the congress but is better known for catering to large wedding parties, Chea Sim said the ongoing coalition with Funcinpec would ensure stability and development.
“The congress highly appreciates the fruitful cooperation between CPP and Funcinpec. We completely support Samdech Hun Sen’s speech at the Funcinpec congress,” Chea Sim said.
Speaking at Funcinpec’s national congress on Nov 14, Hun Sen said that the CPP would support Prince Ranariddh as prime minister if Funcinpec won the 2008 national elections.
Continuing a long tradition of congress secrecy, reporters covering the CPP meeting were told to leave before Hun Sen gave his opening speech Monday afternoon.
Prak Sokhon, a CPP official and Council of Ministers secretary of state, said it had been decided at the congress to add an as of yet unknown number of members to the party’s 153-member central committee.
“There will be no reshuffle in the Central Committee, there will be only additional members,” he said.
Prak Sokhon said the opening of the party’s inner ranks was to ensure representation from some provinces that had no members in the committee.
Opposition party member Mu Sochua, a former Funcinpec official, said that Chea Sim’s confirmation of the CPP and Funcinpec coalition showed that the CPP had chosen a strategy to win forthcoming elections.
“They have chosen a partner that they think can make them win,” she said of the coalition with Funcinpec.
“We wish them good luck,” she added.