Hun Sen Rejects 3-Party Meeting With King

Prime Minister Hun Sen on Sunday rejected a proposal by the Alliance of Democrats to hold a tripartite meeting with King Norodom Sihanouk to negotiate a future government.

“I don’t know what [the Sam Rainsy Party and Funcinpec] actually want. During the election, they didn’t recognize the election results when the King” gathered the parties, the prime minister told reporters gathered at Hun Sen Park for International Peace Day.

“There should be an existing National Assembly with parliamentarians before forming the government,” he said.

Opposition party leader Sam Rainsy, with Funcinpec support, suggested Saturday that the two parties and the CPP meet the King to discuss forming a new government and the opening of the Assembly, scheduled for Satur­day.

The CPP won more votes than the Sam Rainsy Party and Funcin­pec during the election but failed to acquire the two-thirds majority of parliamentary seats required to control the Assembly.

“I think that all three parties have to go to see the King and ask him to intervene and pave the way to find a resolution because His Majesty the King is the king for our nation, for all of us,” Sam Rainsy told reporters Saturday.

The King brokered coalition agreements between the CPP and Funcinpec after the 1993 and 1998 elections when the government faced political paralysis.

But King Sihanouk has distanced himself from this year’s political dispute, publicly asking Senate President Chea Sim on Friday to preside over this week’s Assembly opening in his stead.

In apparent reply to Hun Sen’s comments last week that RCAF, the police and civil servants wanted the King to open the As­sem­bly, the King said in a statement, “I face threats from Khmer citizens, soldiers and police who are biased to the CPP. If I go to the Assembly myself, it means that I succumb to someone. My whole life, I’ve never succumbed to anyone.”

Funcinpec Secretary-General Prince Norodom Sirivudh said Sun­­day that he was “disappointed” with Hun Sen’s remarks to the King.

“According to the Constitution, nobody can pressure His Majesty by the armed forces,” the prince said. “I make an appeal to all members of the royal armed forces not to forget that he is the father of our nation and the supreme commander of the armed forces.”

CPP spokesman Khieu Kanha­rith said Chea Sim, who is also president of the CPP, would honor the King’s request to open the Assembly.

Sam Rainsy on Sunday said that Chea Sim is an inappropriate choice to steer the meeting. He added that opposition members will not attend unless at least 120 parliamentarians participate.

“It must have full members. One cannot give birth to half a baby. The baby we’re going to recognize solemnly shall be a full body,” Sam Rainsy said.

Royalists have said they will not join the meeting without Sam Rainsy Party officials in attendance.

Sam Rainsy told reporters of his proposal for the tripartite meeting after arriving Saturday at Phnom Penh International Airport. The opposition leader concluded a tour of the US and Europe, where he and Prince Sirivudh sought support for the newly formed Sam Rainsy Party-Funcinpec alliance.

Prince Sirivudh returned to Phnom Penh on Friday evening.

US Senators Mitch McConnell and John McCain released statements last week in support of the Alliance of Democrats.

McConnell’s statement said the Alliance’s demand to remove Hun Sen from the premiership was “reasonable and realistic.” A statement issued by McCain urged the swift formation of a new coalition government.

Although US lawmakers pledged to propose a bill supporting Cambodia’s democratization, monetary support allocated via the National Democratic Institute and the International Republican Institute is not reserved specifically for the Alliance of Democrats, Prince Sirivudh said.

“We just get support in terms of principle. The United States of America’s two senators like a change of leadership in Cambo­dia. They support the role of the [Alliance] to move to the real democracy,” he said.

On Saturday, Funcinpec Presi­dent Prince Norodom Ranariddh sent a letter to his father, the King, requesting that he open the Assem­bly at the Royal Palace. The King forwarded the letter to the Constitutional Council, Sam Rainsy said.

The King in 1993 convened the first Assembly meeting at the Royal Palace. Parliamentarians in 1998 gathered at the King’s residence in Siem Reap province and held a swearing-in ceremony at Angkor Wat, due to factional fighting in the capital.

King Sihanouk said last week he would consider abdicating the throne if more than 50 percent of As­sembly members approved such a motion. He has suggested ab­dicating several times in the past.

Executive members of the Alliance of Democrats are scheduled to gather at Prince Sirivudh’s house today, Sam Rainsy said.

“We will offer something acceptable to all three parties with the grace of the King,” he said.


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