Funcinpec President Prince Norodom Ranariddh, speaking to reporters outside the National Assembly Saturday, reiterated the determination of the yet unproven Alliance of Democrats to form a three-party government without Prime Minister Hun Sen at the helm.
The news conference, which was broadcast on the Royalists’ Ta Prohm radio station, followed a discussion with Japanese parliamentarian and Secretary-General of the Liberal Democratic Party, Tako Yamasaki.
Prince Ranariddh said Yamasaki urged him to help create a new CPP-led coalition government with Hun Sen continuing as prime minister. According to the prince, he told the Japanese politician that three parties and a demoted Hun Sen is the only solution. “I have clearly informed the Japanese that if [the CPP] accepts the tripartite formula, we can start discussions tomorrow. Although we don’t accept the election results, we can discuss how to form the government,” he said.
Prince Ranariddh also said he told Yamasaki the votes earned by Funcinpec and its Alliance partner, the Sam Rainsy Party, were from voters who defied intimidation and risked injury, while the CPP’s votes were bought or coerced.
The prince also said he has been selected executive director of the Alliance—an appointment that will be cemented in a ceremony this week.
Japanese Ambassador Gotaro Ogawa, on hand for both Yamasaki’s meeting with Prince Ranariddh and a meeting with Hun Sen, said Sunday that Japan’s delegate refrained from endorsing Hun Sen as the next government’s prime minister out of respect for Cambodia’s sovereignty.
Yamasaki only urged that the next government be established soon, Ogawa said. As for Prince Ranariddh’s resolve, “I have the impression that he maintains his position,” Ogawa said.
Eng Chhay Eang, the Sam Rainsy Party’s secretary-general, said Sunday that the Alliance will appoint its new leaders Tuesday, after opposition leader Sam Rainsy returns from Paris tonight.
He confirmed that Prince Ranariddh will serve as the executive director and said Sam Rainsy would be first deputy director and Funcinpec Secretary-General Prince Norodom Sirivudh would be second deputy director.
Sam Rainsy Party parliamentarian Son Chhay, just back from a Bangkok conference on political reform, said Sunday that the conference’s nearly 50 participants from around the region signed a petition condemning Thailand for barring Sam Rainsy last week.
Sam Rainsy had been scheduled to give the closing speech of the conference, which was sponsored by the National Democratic Institute and the Conference of Asian Liberals and Democrats.
When Sam Rainsy and his wife, opposition parliamentarian Tioulong Saumura, disembarked from their flight at Bangkok International Airport Wednesday night, Thai immigration officials denied them entrance and put them on the next flight to Paris.
Sam Rainsy said Thursday that an immigration official told him he would not be able to use neutral Thailand as a “battleground” for Cambodia’s domestic politics.
According to The Associated Press, the Foreign Correspondents Club of Thailand, which was to host a Sam Rainsy news conference last week, intends to protest those orders, which reportedly came from Thai Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra.
AP quoted the club’s president, Costas Paris, saying, “We regret that the press conference was canceled and we will raise the issue with the Foreign Ministry.”
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