Prime Minister Hun Sen on Monday snubbed an invitation from the Alliance of Democrats to begin negotiating the next government’s composition.
Speaking at the Council of Ministers after meeting with outgoing UN Development Program Country Representative Dominique McAdams, Hun Sen told reporters that Funcinpec and the Sam Rainsy Party’s Alliance of Democrats “died before it was born.”
The prime minister went on to say that there will be no negotiations with either party until after King Norodom Sihanouk convenes the National Assembly, which law requires him to do within 60 days of the election.
“We will find compromise with one of the two parties, but if we can’t compromise after the King [convenes parliament], we should be patient. Don’t be in a hurry because the current government will continue its process as usual,” Hun Sen said.
He then added that Funcinpec and the opposition party would need to deal with him rather than with CPP President Chea Sim, a reference to the recent letter sent Saturday by Prince Norodom Ranariddh on behalf of the Alliance to Chea Sim requesting to begin negotiations to form the a government. The CPP returned the letter unopened over the weekend.
The Alliance has demanded a tripartite government without Hun Sen as prime minister. The CPP has refused those conditions.
“The Cambodian Constitution has stated clearly that the party that won the election will select the [next] prime minister, so there is no reason to comment on this issues,” Hun Sen said.
“I say that the Alliance died before it was born…because there was no Alliance of Democrats on the ballot. It had only political parties registered on the election rolls,” he said. “Is there any legal or political reason to negotiate with the Alliance of Democrats?”
Hun Sen also derided the upcoming trip abroad by opposition party leader Sam Rainsy and Prince Ranariddh. “Their trip is to appeal to the foreign countries to interfere into Cambodia internal affairs…. It’s a stupid act and the people laugh until they cry,” he said.
Hun Sen recommended that the Alliance instead appeal to the King for intervention.
But the opposition leader sounded determined as ever in the wake of rejection.
“The Alliance is a reality nobody can deny…. No solution can be found without the Alliance,” Sam Rainsy said on Monday.
“There are clearheaded and realistic people within the CPP who recognize the Alliance,” Sam Rainsy continued. “Everybody knows that Mr Hun Sen does not [speak for] the whole CPP.”
As for Hun Sen’s suggestion that the Alliance seek the help of the King rather than traveling to the US and Europe, Sam Rainsy said, “We look up to the King as the last resort, but we must first appeal to all of our friends and allies.”
Funcinpec Deputy Secretary General Ok Socheat agreed. “Finding support abroad is not illegal because there isn’t any local justice,” he said on Monday.
(Additional reporting by Porter Barron)