Power-Sharing Talks Get Off to Rocky Start

Early talks over a power-sharing agreement for the next government have again polarized the CPP and Funcinpec, with both sides accusing the other of making unrealistic demands for control of key ministries.

The CPP has proposed a 60-40 split of government positions, with the CPP controlling the government’s most important and lucrative ministries.

Under that plan, the CPP would take complete control of the ministries of Interior, Defense, Information and Jus­tice—all currently co-chaired or chaired by Funcinpec ministers.

Royalists are balking at the proposal, saying it would hand the CPP more power than it won in the coalition government formed in 1998.

In such a scenario, the CPP “not only take[s] the majority [of positions], but all the key components of the government,” said royalist spokesman Kassie Neou.

The gulf between the two parties was evident Tuesday when Funcinpec’s negotiating team re­turned a CPP power-sharing proposal with extensive notes and sev­eral passages struck out. According to CPP officials, Fun­cinpec is proposing instead an even split of government positions that would extend to the courts, military and police.

CPP spokesman Khieu Kanha­rith said Tuesday that is unfeasible because it could politicize all levels of government. “We do everything we can, but we can not do the impossible,” he said.

Negotiations appeared on track last week following talks between royalist President Prince Noro­dom Ranariddh and Prime Min­ister Hun Sen, but discussions about power-sharing have started slowly this week.

Funcinpec failed to produce a full protocol agreement to the CPP Tuesday; Khieu Kanharith said the CPP had expected a re­port last weekend.

Funcinpec officials said they are treading carefully to avoid the power-sharing pitfalls of 1998, which they say left the party a toothless coalition partner.



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