Fourteen of 15 steering committee members of the seatless Reastr Niyum met Wednesday morning and reached a “consensus” to continue the party, party leaders said.
Party co-Vice President Nady Tan on Wednesday said there had been a misconception over the appearances of party secretary-general Pou Sothirak and party spokesman Pou Sovachana at opposition press conferences critical of the election process.
“It does not mean we are joining these parties,” the Council of Ministers’ secretary-general said. “When we are attending those meetings, we are speaking with our own voice.”
He said no party members had expressed interest in splitting off from the party and joining one of three parties that won seats in the National Assembly. “People feel the party should continue to exist,” Pou Sothirak said.
The only question, Nady Tan said, was whether it is financially feasible to continue: “I put this as a wait-and-see period before we reassess ourselves” in one year.
Party leaders left or were expelled from Funcinpec after last July’s rupture in the coalition government. In August, Ung Huot, now Reastr Niyum president, replaced Prince Norodom Ranariddh as first prime minister.
Nady Tan, a former Funcinpec steering committee chief, avoided answering directly whether he thought the CPP would relieve him or his fellow party members from their high-ranking government jobs. “Oh, yeah, working for the government is uncertain,” he said. “On one hand, you can say the job is secure, but on the other hand, people get reassigned.”
Party steering committee members hold the first premiership, the top posts in the Foreign Affairs, Industry and Agriculture ministries, and high positions in Defense, Cabinet, Tourism and Finance, among others.
“It is not necessary to be in the Council of Ministers or the National Assembly to have a role,” he said.
(Additional reporting by Jeff Hodson)