King Lashes Out at Gov’t For Deadlock

King Norodom Sihanouk on Monday criticized the government for ignoring the will of the people by not following the constitutional rules of a liberal democracy.

“[O]ur second Kingdom doesn’t want to do that which is associated with other ‘civilized’ Kingdoms,” he wrote in a statement titled “Drollery” and published on his Web site.

The second Kingdom decides “to not ‘divorce’ with the old National Assembly nor with the old government, ignoring ‘royally’…this ‘third legislature’ delivered by the ‘sovereign’ people” in the July 27 general election, he wrote.

King Sihanouk suggested the current political deadlock would end with Funcinpec President Prince Norodom Ranariddh at the helm of the National Assem­bly and CPP Prime Minister Hun Sen in charge of the government.

“[The politicians] will finish, perhaps, by having their third National Assembly legislature with Samdech Krom Preah Norodom Ranariddh as president of this Assembly and their ‘new’ government with Samdech Hun Sen as chief,” he wrote.

He speculated that opposition leader Sam Rainsy will be vi­ce president of the Assembly or vice prime minister of the government.

“Thus, all will return in order… Long live the ‘Party of Angkor!’” he wrote.

King Sihanouk also said it was a shame that the newly elected Assem­bly members must wait for an end to the standoff before participating in the new legislature and government.

But, he said, Minister of Fi­nance Keat Chhon “will find a little money to ‘console’ and to ‘make patient’ the ‘newly elected’ [legislators], those who don’t already know ‘the flavor’ of legislative and governmental ability.”

On Friday, the King wrote on his Web site that he would not interfere in the contentious issue of Hun Sen’s continuing as prime minister in the new government.

The King issued a statement Mon­day clarifying that he would not rule out helping the three parties form a new government. He referred to a recent statement by CPP spokesman Khieu Kanha­rith saying the issue of premiership should be settled before the King is asked to intervene.

In the statement, the King added that he did not want Fun­cinpec to believe that he would force the party to work with Hun Sen as in 1993 and 1998.

Funcinpec and Sam Rainsy Party officials are calling for Hun Sen to step down and say they will not join a three-party government as long as he remains head. However, last week, they said they could postpone the issue to first negotiate with the CPP on how to form the new Assembly.

On Monday, those talks were no closer to starting.

Meanwhile, Funcinpec denied a Phnom Penh Post report that said a deal to create a three-party government was “imminent.”

The report, published Friday, quoted a Funcinpec official as saying the CPP would receive 16 ministries in the new government, while Funcinpec and the Sam Rainsy Party would divide 10 others equally between themselves.

“This is not true. To date, there has been no such talk between the CPP and the Funcinpec Party,” Funcinpec’s statement said Monday.

Late last month, Khieu Kan­harith said the CPP would be willing to join a three-party government if Funcinpec and the Sam Rainsy Party decided on how to divide available government positions among themselves. He later retracted that statement.

Khieu Kanharith on Monday said the ruling party was weighing its next move as it waited for Hun Sen to return from a weekend trip to Singapore, where he attended the 12th East Asia Economic Summit. The prime minister returned to Phnom Penh Mon­day morning.


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