PM: Ranariddh Party Will Not Join Government

Despite Prince Norodom Ran­ariddh’s legal rehabilitation and re­turn to Cambodia this week, Prime Minister Hun Sen said Thursday that the prince’s NRP cannot ex­pect positions in the newly formed government.

Ahead of his return, Prince Ran­ariddh expressed support for Hun Sen, and NRP officials have said that the party would like to be a part of the new government.

“I would like to reveal that on Sun­day the prince returned to Cambodia, [and] he called me to chat,” Hun Sen said in a speech in Phnom Penh.

“The prince asked me about the possibility that he heard Samdech would allow the NRP to join the government,” Hun Sen said. “I would like to clarify that in this government there is only Funcinpec and the CPP,” Hun Sen added.

Hun Sen said he was announcing that the NRP would not be in­volved in his government be­cause NRP officials had been seeking payment from people for pro­mised positions.

“People are trying to sell positions,” Hun Sen said, adding, “They said that the NRP can receive one sec­retary of state and one undersecretary of state and one or two positions in the prov­inces. Some­one in the NRP is doing this. I would like to put a stop to it.”

Formed last week, Hun Sen’s cabinet, which includes dozens of officials from CPP coalition partner Funcinpec, is about 35 percent larger than it was in the previous administration.

NRP spokesman Suth Dina said by telephone Thursday that Prince Ranariddh has not raised the idea of joining the government with Hun Sen. He added, however, that the party is hoping that the prime minister would allow it to become a member of the ruling coalition.

“The prince has not discussed about the government, but opportunistic officials made a list themselves. The prince will have measures against those opportunists,” Suth Dina said of the prime minister’s allegations of supposed position buying.

Hun Sen on Thursday also said that his ruling CPP has begun taking measures to bring new blood into the party’s aging leadership.

“The CPP is gradually preparing human resources to continue taking charge because among the [CPP] permanent committee mem­­bers—there are a few young­er people—the youngest mem­bers are about 50 years old,” he said.

“We will keep old officials, [but] we will add more [young officials]: The old officials will help advise the young officials, the young officials will be a vital force, the attackers,” he added.

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