The CPP on Wednesday declared that it is willing to make concessions to the opposition, releasing a three-page statement that pushed for a summit with Funcinpec and assailed the opposition’s poll-related complaints.
“We must sit down at the negotiation table and resolve the basic problems of sharing power, of operating the National Assembly and of distributing responsibilities in the new royal coalition government,” declared the statement.
The CPP, however, didn’t elaborate on the concessions the party is willing to make. And CPP officials interviewed indicated that the concessions being considered stopped short of the Assembly presidency sought by Funcinpec.
CPP officials Wednesday said that the statement, which bore party President Chea Sim’s name, was approved by the party’s standing committee a number of days ago.
“The CPP want a summit, not a working group, and we are very happy that the King wants to chair the summit,” said Sok An, a CPP standing committee member and co-minister of Cabinet.
King Norodom Sihanouk on Sunday reversed an earlier position by reportedly agreeing to chair a second summit of party leaders in an attempt to break three months of political deadlock following the July 26 elections.
Funcinpec parliamentarian Ahmad Yahya said Wednesday that party leaders were in Bangkok discussing a response to the CPP statement.
The CPP statement Wednesday reiterated a desire to meet only with Funcinpec and not the Sam Rainsy Party.
“That is a stupid idea. They want to divide the opposition parties,” Ahmad Yahya said, adding that Funcinpec wants SRP members in a coalition government.
Opposition leader Sam Rainsy reiterated by telephone from Paris on Wednesday that the King is a “hostage” of the CPP and said he doubted any report of the King’s intentions while the monarch remains in Cambodia.
A CPP offer last week of a legislative co-chairmanship was rejected by Funcinpec officials, who are sticking to their demand that the party has the sole chair of the National Assembly.
CPP members said they are prepared to offer a “package” to Funcinpec in talks but want to discuss more than just the Assembly presidency. “The talks could mean some more concessions if the two parties will talk,” said Chea Sim’s Cabinet chief Oum Sarith.
Three previous working group sessions and one leaders’ summit have failed to produce any significant progress in forming a new government.
The CPP won a majority of seats in parliament but not enough to form a government on its own.
Sam Rainsy and Funcinpec President Prince Ranariddh, whose parties won seats in the election, have been abroad since Sept 25, citing veiled CPP threats against them.
The Wednesday CPP statement also said the CPP bore no responsibility for investigating the opposition’s complaints of election fraud and urged the opposition to drop the issue.
“Compared to the 1993 election, we’d also remember that the Cambodian People’s Party was also involved in making complaints on the results of the election much similar to the present two political parties,” the CPP said. “However, the Cambodian People’s Party was unable to have the electoral results changed.”