Hun Sen Will Trade Jobs for F’pec Vote

Prime Minister Hun Sen sweetened his offer to Funcinpec on Wednesday, promising to give more government jobs to royalist officials in a bid to lure them into a new two-party coalition government with his CPP.

If Funcinpec agrees to join the CPP, “I strongly promise that all Funcinpec party members will have jobs,” Hun Sen said during a Kratie province bridge inauguration ceremony, broadcast on Apsara radio.

“I will also add positions to provinces and districts,” he promised.

Hun Sen repeated that the CPP wants only to create a two-party government without Funcinpec’s Alliance of Democrats partner, the Sam Rainsy Party.

Continuing his carrot-and-stick approach, Hun Sen warned that Funcinpec will lose government positions if it continues to push for a three-party government.

If all three parties were to share power, he said, CPP would de­mand 60 percent of government positions, leaving Funcinpec and the Sam Rainsy Party with 20 percent each.

That would mean Funcinpec would lose at least half of the government positions that it currently occupies, he said. In the current government, Funcinpec and the CPP each have roughly half the number of positions.

In a two-party government, “we will have equal” sharing of positions, he said.

Hun Sen said he would appoint one additional Funcinpec member to each district and one additional Funcinpec deputy governor to each province if the royalists agreed to join the CPP.

He did not say whether the government would create new positions or replace existing posts with Funcinpec officials.

Reducing the government’s already over-staffed and bloated bureaucracy has been a key donor demand and long-standing reform promise of the government.

Funcinpec spokesman Kassie Neou on Wednesday rejected the offer outright.

“The official position of Funcinpec is tripartite,” Kassie Neou said.

He added that Hun Sen made similar offers to Funcinpec during the post-1998 election deadlock.

“Hun Sen said the same thing in 1998 with Funcinpec and we believed,” he said. “It did not work as has been said at all….. We will not [go through] the same old experience.”

On Tuesday, Eng Chhay Eang, the Sam Rainsy Party’s secretary-general, said that if the CPP continues to reject a tripartite government, the Alliance’s parliamentarians will allow the CPP to govern alone, but only if the ruling party agrees to some of the Alliance’s conditions.

Eng Chhay Eang declined to comment further on what those conditions might be.

Prince Norodom Sirivudh, Funcinpec’s secretary-general, agreed.

“If the CPP wants two parties, we [will not join] a coalition government, but will be in the National Assembly and we will be the opposition party,” Prince Sirivudh said.

CPP Honorary President Heng Samrin, however, said his party will only accept a two-party government. If such a government cannot be formed, the current government will continue, he said in a telephone interview on Tuesday.

“Our stance is firm and we will not change it anymore,” he said.

(Additional reporting by Wency Leung)

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