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.