Opposition Senator Given Post in New Gov’t

A senior opposition senator said Wednesday he will join the new government as secretary of state for the Ministry of Finance, be­coming the only Sam Rainsy Party member to take a Funcinpec post.

Senator Ou Bunlong said Fun­cinpec President Prince Nor­odom Ranariddh offered him the position, secured by Funcinpec in its agreement to form a coalition government with the CPP.

“I have worked very hard,” Ou Bunlong said. “The prince knows that I worked hard, so he wants me to work with him.”

Under the coalition agreement, Funcinpec was given 40 percent of the positions in the new government, with the CPP keeping 60 percent.

Those positions are expected to be ratified in a vote in the Na­tional Assembly today.

The Sam Rainsy Party, however, has said it will boycott today’s Assembly session.

In recent weeks, cracks have appeared in the opposition’s alliance with Fun­cinpec, and Sam Rainsy has publicly questioned whether the prince took bribes to join the coalition government.

Ou Bunlong said he accepted Funcinpec’s offer “as a bridge for the two political parties.” But, he said, “If the Sam Rainsy Party doesn’t accept me, that’s fine.”

Reached by telephone Wednes­day, Sam Rainsy said the senator can remain in the opposition party and still be in the government.

But, he said: “This does not mean the SRP recognizes the new government.”

(Additional reporting by Wency Leung)


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