NRP Not Part of New Government: Minister

Though the ruling CPP is considering taking the Norodom Rana­riddh Party as a partner in government, the royalist party will not be part of the new government set to be formed by the end of the month, according to Information Minister and government spokes­man Khieu Kanharith.

Speaking by telephone Sunday, Khieu Kanharith said the government for the fourth mandate will be formed shortly following the first meeting of the National Assembly on Sept 24, but that government will be made up of officials from just the CPP and Funcinpec.

“There are only two parties in the government,” he said. “We will think later about the Norodom Ranariddh Party.”

Khieu Kanharith said the CPP has not yet seriously considered the NRP as a partner because the royalist party has not yet announ­ced its support for the CPP political platform. But last week NRP Pre­sident Prince Norodom Rana­riddh did release a statement urging the CPP to form the next government quickly in order to “lead the country towards development and reducing poverty according to the CPP’s political platform.”

Formerly an opposition party, the NRP has indicated in recent weeks that it is interested in joining forces with the CPP, particularly if it could result in the return of Prince Ranariddh, currently in self-im­posed exile to avoid a prison sentence.

NRP spokesman Suth Dina said Sunday that the party remains primarily focused on securing the prince’s return and is not currently interested in working toward joining the ruling coalition.

“We don’t have a plan now to join the government,” he said.

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