Prince Says F’pec Faces ‘Menace’

Funcinpec President Prince Noro­dom Ranariddh said Thurs­day that his party will continue to be threatened if the ongoing political deadlock is not resolved ac­cord­ing to Prime Minister Hun Sen’s wishes.

The prince, speaking to report­ers at a celebration of King Noro­dom Sihanouk’s 81st birthday at Funcinpec headquarters, said his party’s members face an atmosphere of “menace” as they prepare for a Wednesday meeting of the three main political parties.

“I think that it will be threat again and again from now on until after [November] 5th,” he said. “And if, after the 5th, if it will not be, let’s say, successful—successful meaning the solution is not in conformity to what Samdech Hun Sen wanted—I think there will be threats again and strain.”

Wednesday’s meeting, to be convened by the King, is aimed at resolving the three-month stalemate which has delayed the formation of a new government and National Assembly. It will be the first official discussion between the three parties since the July 27 general election.

A tripartite meeting scheduled earlier this month was canceled after the Oct 18 shooting death of a pro-Funcinpec radio journalist Chuor Chetharith. Funcinpec and the Sam Rainsy Party called the killing—which followed a string of attacks on their members and supporters—an act of political intimidation.

CPP spokesman Khieu Kanharith on Thursday criticized Prince Ranariddh for his comments, saying it was “irresponsible” not to specify how and from whom Funcinpec was being threatened.

“Threat from who?…To say, if the deadlock is not solved, there will be threat is a poor excuse,” he said.

He added: “You cannot use violence or threat to get what you want, otherwise the solution will be very fragile.”

Earlier this month, Khieu Kanharith suggested the recent spate of violence pointed to a ploy designed to discredit Hun Sen.

Despite winning the election with 73 seats in the Assembly, the CPP is nine seats short of forming a government. Funcinpec and the Sam Rainsy Party, however, have refused to join a coalition with the CPP unless it forms a three-party government without Hun Sen as prime minister. The CPP has rejected such conditions.

Prince Ranariddh on Thursday repeated his earlier claim that he did not want either position of Assembly or Senate president, as King Sihanouk had suggested earlier this month.

“My dream is to be simply a member of the National Assembly and to be able to speak out to say what I am thinking [about] how to resolve the very, very important problem of the country,” he said.

Discussions about the allocation of new government and legislative positions should be set aside until after the three parties have agreed upon the principles and policies of the new government, he added.

Sam Rainsy, who also attended the ceremony at Funcinpec headquarters Thursday, said he agreed.

“We will not discuss the role of personalities,” Sam Rainsy said. “If we solve the problem now by giving positions to this or that leaders, it does not ensure that we solve the problem for years to come.”


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