Three Parties Explore Idea Of Teaming Up

Representatives from the SRP, the Human Rights Party and the Norodom Ranariddh Party met Thursday to form a joint committee to discuss the possibility of an alli­ance between the three parties, officials said.

The meeting comes a day after Prime Minister Hun Sen claimed that two parties, which he did not name but appeared to be the HRP and the NRP, had approached him to ask if they could join forces with his ruling CPP to form the next government.

Keat Sokhun, vice president of the HRP Board of Directors, said by telephone that the Thursday meeting was aimed at forming a tripartite alliance.

“We are working to form an alli­ance,” Keat Sokhun said. “We have established a permanent committee to resolve problems…and the future alliance.”

The three parties will also hold a news conference today at SRP headquarters to present further evidence of irregularities in the July 27 national election, which saw the CPP score a sweeping victory. In a joint statement Thursday evening, the parties again described the election as “rigged.”

Sam Rainsy denied the meeting was a retort to Hun Sen’s comments Wednesday that two more parties are lobbying to join him in government.

“I don’t put value on Hun Sen’s comments,” Sam Rainsy said by telephone.

“We have a joint purpose. Our re­lationship is even stronger than be­fore,” he said of the three parties.

NRP spokesman Muth Chann­tha confirmed that his party will join the SRP and the HRP at today’s news conference, but declined to comment about a formal alliance.

CPP lawmaker Cheam Yeap said his party was not concerned by the latest development.

“The three political parties have only 31 seats. We have 90 seats and the quorum is only 84 to convene the Assembly,” Cheam Yeap said, forecasting that the alliance be­tween the SRP, HRP and NRP would be short-lived.

“The alliance cannot last long. They will have conflicts among each other,” he said.

Hun Sen also said Wednesday that in the next mandate, Funcin­pec would continue as a coalition partner with the CPP, though he heaped criticism on Funcinpec President Keo Puth Rasmey for supporting a statement, alongside the SRP, NRP and HRP, calling for a rejection of the election result.

Cheam Yeap also said that even if Keo Puth Rasmey remained president, the CPP would only form a coalition with Funcinpec Secretary-General Nhiek Bun Chhay.

Keo Puth Rasmey will continue as Funcinpec president, the party’s First Vice President Lu Laysreng said Thursday.

Lu Laysreng added that because of his advanced years—he is in his 70s—he will be stepping down from his position as Minister of Rural Development.

“I will resign from government positions even if the prime minister gives me positions,” Lu Laysreng said.

“I want to let the younger generation work,” he said.

Government spokesman and In­formation Minister Khieu Kanha­rith said Thursday that Hun Sen was unhappy with Lu Laysreng be­cause of comments the minister made during the election campaign.

“Hun Sen does not give him any positions,” Khieu Kanharith said.


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