More than half of Funcinpec ministers want to join their CPP counterparts at a Cabinet meeting next week, Funcinpec Deputy Secretary-General Ok Socheat said on Friday, casting doubt over whether Funcinpec will carry out a plan to resign from the current coalition.
“The majority want to attend the meeting,” Ok Socheat said, adding that most of the ministers did not want to dissolve the current government until after negotiations for a new government are resolved between the CPP, Funcinpec and the opposition Sam Rainsy Party.
“We should be together. We don’t want to destroy the government,” he said.
CPP Prime Minister Hun Sen on Thursday warned he would reclaim all government vehicles and possessions from any non-CPP members who do not attend Friday’s cabinet meeting, and said he would suspend their salaries.
Hun Sen’s statement came as Funcinpec officials said their party’s ministers and secretaries of state had drafted resignations to cut ties with the CPP government.
They said they wanted to protest Hun Sen’s vow to stay in power, regardless of whether a coalition government is formed.
Ok Socheat said Funcinpec ministers were not afraid of the prime minister’s threats to pull their salaries. But judging from their response at a top-level Funcinpec meeting Thursday, he said, all members would attend the Cabinet meeting.
However, Funcinpec Minister of Information Lu Laysreng said Funcinpec ministers would “absolutely not” join the meeting, indicating a split within the party over its post-election strategy.
He added that the ministers’ resignation proposals, which other Funcinpec officials have called “unofficial,” would certainly be carried out.
“All ministers and secretar[ies] of state are resigned. The [resignations] are already made,” Lu Laysreng said. He said although the resignation plan had not yet been submitted to the prime minister, “it will be.”
Funcinpec officials said the party had not yet decided whether to back a tri-party proposal by the Sam Rainsy Party, which would replace Hun Sen with CPP President Chea Sim as prime minister. The plan suggests appointing Hun Sen as the president of the National Assembly, Sam Rainsy as deputy prime minister, and Funcinpec leader Prince Norodom Ranariddh as president of the Senate.
Ok Socheat expressed support for Chea Sim as prime minister earlier this week, but he said the party has not officially backed the plan.
Funcinpec lawmaker Princess Norodom Vacheara on Thursday said she was frustrated that Sam Rainsy had made such a proposal without first consulting her party members, as they had agreed when the two parties created a joint committee earlier this week to deal with a possible political deadlock. She said Friday the party would not enter a coalition with the CPP without the inclusion of the Sam Rainsy Party.