The King Calls Political Parties ‘Children’

King Norodom Sihanouk on Sunday called the three main political parties “‘large’ children” and said he no longer wanted to be part of their continuing dispute.

“I no longer accept to implicate myself in this sad and shameful ‘affair’ of the 3 ‘large’ parties, in which the ‘rule of conduct’ is: ‘to agree to disagree,’” the King wrote in a letter posted on his Web site.

The King’s statement comes after the three parties on Friday failed to reach any agreements on the formation of the new National Assembly after their second joint-“working group” meeting in a week.

King Sihanouk said he had done more than his duty to at­tempt to end the deadlock, which has delayed the creation of the new government and Assembly leadership for nearly five months.

“It is for our respected and well-loved people to now attend to the 3 ‘large’ children,” he said.

He added that the continuation of the old government, led by CPP Prime Minister Hun Sen, is “acceptable.”

“We have an ‘old’ [government], which does not die and which functions ‘normally on the national and international plan,” he wrote.

On Saturday, Funcinpec and the Sam Rainsy Party’s Alliance of Democrats issued a statement saying the tripartite negotiations failed to make any progress because the CPP has insisted on a simultaneous parliamentary vote on the Assembly president and prime minister.

The statement said such a vote would be illegal as the Consti­tution requires the Assembly to vote on its president before the government can be established.

Sam Rainsy Party spokesman Ung Bun-Ang said Sunday that the Alliance is now waiting for the CPP to accept a meeting of the parties’ top leaders.

CPP spokesman Khieu Kanha­rith responded Sunday by saying the CPP’s proposal was not un­constitutional. He added that a simultaneous vote was necessary to ensure its choice for prime minister would be approved if CPP parliamentarians voted for the Alliance’s nomination for Assembly president.

He said the CPP would accept the Alliance’s call for a meeting of top party leaders. But, he said, “the main problem is they have to find their leader first,” referring to Funcinpec President Prince Norodom Ranariddh, who left Cambodia more than a month ago. Funcinpec officials have said he is in France.

Funcinpec spokesman Kassie Neou said Prince Ranariddh would return for the meeting if the CPP sets a date.


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