Funcinpec President Prince Norodom Ranariddh on Tuesday applauded his party’s successes in retaining influence in government and chided the Sam Rainsy Party for not following his lead in forming a coalition government with the CPP last year.
Speaking at a Funcinpec youth conference at the party’s Phnom Penh headquarters, Prince Ranariddh lauded the royalist party’s share of government positions, which he helped secure despite Funcinpec’s slide in popularity during the 2003 national election.
“Funcinpec got 26 seats [in the National Assembly], less than half of CPP’s 73 seats, but we got more than 40 percent of the posts in the government and in the National Assembly committees,” he said. “This is our victory.”
Referring to the Sam Rainsy Party, Prince Ranariddh said “the smart party” won only two seats less than Funcinpec in the last election, “but it gets zero posts in the government and zero posts in the Assembly committees.”
Now, he said, “Who is smarter?”
Opposition lawmakers countered Prince Ranariddh’s comments Tuesday, alleging that despite its numerous government posts, Funcinpec officials wield no real power.
“Sam Rainsy would not enter the government as a weak power, which cannot make any change,” Sam Rainsy Party lawmaker Yim Sovann said.
Cambodia’s current government Cabinet, which emerged from a power-sharing deal between Funcinpec and the CPP, is one of the largest in the world with seven deputy prime ministers, 15 senior ministers, 28 ministers, 135 secretaries of state and at least 146 undersecretaries of state.
Also at the youth conference Tuesday, Prince Ranariddh appointed former minister of rural development Ly Thuch as a deputy secretary-general to his party.
Though he recently eliminated dozens of deputy secretary-general positions, citing redundancies, the prince appointed his daughter Princess Norodom Rattana Devi as a deputy secretary-general last month. Funcinpec now has eight deputy secretary-generals.