In a speech highly critical of his party’s coalition partner, Prime Minister Hun Sen said Tuesday that Funcinpec has appointed unfit people to government jobs and is draining the ruling CPP of its lifeblood.
The comments came as the prime minister announced he has rejected a proposal by Funcinpec to divide administrative positions at the nation’s schools and universities between his ruling CPP and the royalist party.
Hun Sen said he has written to Funcinpec and National Assembly President Prince Norodom Ranariddh, explaining that ensuring educational quality is more important than organizing a quota of political officials in the education system.
“I cannot provide in relation to the schools. I wrote in the letter that [ensuring] quality is the principle, not quotas,” he said at a graduation ceremony in Kandal province.
Hun Sen said Funcinpec had requested that officials from the party be given positions as principals and deputy principals from primary schools up to universities.
He added that he was not certain whether the proposal was the brainchild of Pok Than, Funcinpec secretary of state at the Ministry of Education, or Funcinpec Education Minister Kol Pheng. But he said that Prince Ranariddh had approved the proposal, which was then forwarded to Hun Sen to sign off on.
“I am tired of it. The prince sometimes doesn’t examine it and sends it to me,” Hun Sen said.
Pok Than declined comment, while Kol Pheng could not be contacted. Funcinpec spokesman Chea Chanboribo also declined comment on the speech.
The prime minister accused Funcinpec of appointing unskilled people to senior provincial positions.
“Sometimes [Funcinpec] accepted a pig slaughterer to be a provincial governor. Pig slaughterers cannot be provincial governors,” Hun Sen said. “I have to think about the people and the country.”
Hun Sen added that the CPP is acting like a blood donor to Funcinpec, but that the blood donated to the royalists is failing to revive them.
“I told [Funcinpec co-Minister of Defense] Nhiek Bun Chhay that I am like a blood donor. The CPP donated blood to the Funcinpec party, and in the end CPP and Funcinpec will die because the CPP has no more blood and Funcinpec takes the blood and doesn’t know how to use it,” he said.
Hun Sen said he was frustrated with having to authorize the repeated rotation of government officials between positions, which he accused the officials of buying. He added that he would no longer approve any such transfers.
“Now I temporarily stop appointments. It is very chaotic. I was the one to sign [the removals] and they accepted the money. I won’t sign,” he said.
He also warned that the CPP would forge ahead with amending the Constitution to decrease the number of National Assembly votes needed to form a government, despite opposition from Funcinpec.
Opposition leader Sam Rainsy issued a letter to Hun Sen and Prince Ranariddh on Monday urging them to consider changing the requisite number of votes from two-thirds of parliamentarians to half of the Assembly members plus one.
Some observers have said that such a move could push Funcinpec, which has been required to form three coalition governments with the CPP since 1993, out of government.
“We must amend the Constitution. We have to try from now on until the  election, whoever wins, they can form the government and if they don’t have enough, 50 percent plus one vote, they can ask someone to be a partner,” Hun Sen said.
“The CPP doesn’t abandon the Funcinpec party as our partner because we have worked together, but a real partner does not set a bunch of conditions that until now I could not meet yet,” he said.
Senior Funcinpec lawmaker Monh Saphan said reducing the number of Assembly seats needed to form a government would go against retired King Norodom Sihanouk’s vision for national reconciliation.
“The two-thirds formula is a better democratic formula as it allows more political parties to join the government,” he said.
Sam Rainsy said he was happy that Hun Sen is behind the proposed amendment. “It is a positive result. I believe he will succeed,” Sam Rainsy said.