Funcinpec President Prince Norodom Ranariddh defended his party’s months long negotiations with Prime Minister Hun Sen and the CPP on Friday, saying the policy points agreed upon were not trivial.
Claiming that some observers and the media had branded the policy points inconsequential, Prince Ranariddh said that political development in Cambodia must move, for stability’s sake, at a slow pace.
“Some people and journalists said the 68 points are not important,” Prince Ranariddh told those gathered to launch a report on the work of parliament by the Center for Social Development.
“Some people said that what we have done is insignificant. But we have never done this before in our history,” Prince Ranariddh said.
“What we have done with Hun Sen is enough, why are some people not satisfied?” Ranariddh said.
“We cannot go faster, otherwise it would all be dismantled.”
Signaling that an end to the almost 11-month long political deadlock is at hand, Prince Ranariddh said on Thursday that he will again take up the post of National Assembly president in the next government and that talks between CPP and Funcinpec negotiation task forces were on track .
Prince Ranariddh also said on Friday that National Assembly members who oppose the “package vote”—where parliament will ratify the government and parliamentary posts in a single vote—could disagree, but should avoid “disturbing” others who will vote.
Some observers are questioning what was achieved during the months of talks, saying that though the policy points are important in principle, they are vague on implementation.
In a letter posted on his Web site on Friday, King Norodom Sihanouk wrote that both Funcinpec and the opposition Sam Rainsy Party appear “ridiculous” as they were now accepting an agreement with Hun Sen that they had rejected after talks in November.
The King also said that the next government will “in truth” be a tripartite and not a bipartite government. “There will be ministers, secretaries of state and undersecretaries of state from the SRP,” the King wrote.
Also speaking at the launch of the “Report on the Process of the National Assembly Sessions” (1998-2002), opposition parliamentarian Son Chhay said that Hun Sen’s refusal to be questioned by the National Assembly weakened the institution and left if powerless to “push the government to do the right thing.”
According to the executive summary of the CSD report, parliamentarians were concerned more with defending their own party’s interests than those of voters, and the parliament was not an effective monitor of government activities.
“These factors added more encouragement to political officials and civil servants to not respecting the laws, practice corruption that have serious affect on living standards of the poor people,” the report states.
“Funcinpec and the SRP look ridiculous for accepting, now, the package vote offered many months ago by the CPP which they previously rejected constantly and obstinately, ” the King wrote.