King Calls On Politicians to Respect Voters Re

King Norodom Sihanouk said Wednesday voters should receive more respect from certain high-ranking politicians, as the three main political parties prepare to negotiate on the formation of the National Assembly this evening.

“The electorate merits more respect from the part of certain high politicians of whom I have not arrived at ‘deciphering’ [their] ulterior motives,” the King wrote in a letter posted on his Web site.

King Sihanouk said the three parties would have the opportunity to express themselves “very freely and without time limit” at today’s meeting, which he will chair at the Royal Palace at 5 o’clock. The meeting, comprised of six members from each party, will be broadcast on television after it is finished.

A meeting of a second tripartite task force is scheduled to discuss the formation of the new government on Saturday.

For more than four months, formation of a new government and Assembly has been delayed by political wrangling.

Sam Rainsy Party parliamentarian Son Chhay said Wednesday that the Alliance of Democrats, which includes the opposition party and Funcinpec, hopes to propose several amendments to the Con­sti­tution during today’s meeting, including measures to ensure the leadership of RCAF and the Supreme Council of Magistracy are neutral.

They also hope to discuss changes to the Assembly’s internal regulations, Son Chhay said.

He added that the Alliance was not prepared to discuss the appointment of parliamentary or government positions, both of which are expected to be conten­tious issues.

Funcinpec spokesman Kassie Neou agreed with Son Chhay, saying: “Our preparation is to talk about the principles.”

Hun Sen adviser Om Yentieng de­clined to comment on the CPP’s agenda, but said he is optimistic the meeting “will solve the problem.”

Today’s talks are expected to be headed by opposition leader Sam Rainsy, Funcinpec Secre­tary-General Prince Norodom Sirivudh, and CPP Secretary-Gen­er­al Say Chhum. (Additional re­porting by Lor Chandara)


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