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How to form a new government

Editor's note: As the country waits to see just how long the Alliance of Democrats lasts and who will be in the next government, we asked some people on the street for their opinions.

"The prime minister's post should be given to Sar Kheng or Heng Samrin, otherwise Funcinpec and [the SRP] won't agree to form a new government. If that happens, then the country will not develop further, and people will live difficult lives and get poorer and poorer. I believe a neutral prime minister should be appointed-either King Sihanouk or Samdech Chea Sim. And there should be three deputy prime ministers from the three parties. If Samdech Hun Sen doesn't step down as prime minister, the two parties shouldn't join the government or they will lose their popularity. It would be excellent if Hun Sen stepped down."-Kob, 39, moto-taxi driver.

"The election was more or less acceptable. I don't believe any election is run 100 percent perfectly. Prime Minister Hun Sen said very clearly that he would be prime minister if the CPP won, and his party supports that. Moreover, it is the will of the people. In my opinion we still need him and he is the most suitable person for the job. The SRP and Funcinpec both lost, so they have to respect the winner. I agree with Samdech Hun Sen that the coalition should be made up of two parties-it is not good for Cambodia to lack an opposition. Also, the King should not involve himself in this as he is a neutral person."-Pheak, 38, civil servant.

"The election result seems to have been pre-planned-TVK broadcast the result before the preliminary results were released. How could they know that? A coalition of three parties would be good. If Samdech Hun Sen is a man, he should step down because he has been in office for a long time already. He has brought in not only Vietnamese immigration but also terrorists. If the new government cannot be formed soon, there will be no jobs for students let alone the uneducated people. Of course, for a democratic society, the lack of an opposition party is not good, but in Cambodia's case, if the SRP remains in opposition it will not help much. During the last term Hun Sen didn't care what the SRP said, so why do we need an opposition?"-Meas, 24, English teacher.

"The opposition and Funcinpec should not mix personal problems with national ones. They just find fault with Samdech Hun Sen only. They [Funcinpec and SRP] should accept Samdech Hun Sen. I don't think that their popularity will decrease if they join with Hun Sen. People will watch how they act, and if they perform well, the people will still love them. Also the three parties should work together in every ministry so that people will see their solidarity. I think people want this. My guess is that if the three put the national interest above their personal interests, there will be no conflict between them."-Vutha, 23, student at the Institute of Foreign Languages (IFL).

"Sooner or later a new government will be formed. If it takes too long, it will be mean the old government is unable to do anything but minor tasks. I have heard one solution that I like: I think the CPP should form the government on its own, while Funcinpec and the SRP should form a shadow government to monitor the government's work closely. But the shadow government must be paid for by the government. The shadow government should be led by Sam Rainsy, with Prince Norodom Sirivudh as deputy head. Prince Ranariddh should be appointed king by the present King, because he will never work under Sam Rainsy. Having Hun Sen as prime minister is OK. If the CPP is willing to develop the country, it will do so regardless of who is prime minister."-Sophal, 20, student at the National Institute of Management.

"I have no idea when the new government will be formed. If it is formed too late-more than 60 days after the final election result is released-the current government will be a caretaker government for this period. But Cambodia will not be able to accept any foreign aid, no investors will come, and the US will delay awarding its garment quotas. I don't think Cambodia will move towards real democracy if there is no opposition party. Hun Sen cannot avoid stepping down if he doesn't get enough support, two-thirds, from parliament. I hope that every party that wins will make some concessions for the sake of the nation."-Khy, 24, IFL student.

"I think the three parties should share responsibility based on the proportion of seats they won, since we can't deny the outcome of the election. They should try to work together, because we have already experienced a two-party coalition, and it didn't really work well. I want the new government to amend the Constitution to limit the term of prime minister. That would help for the next election and save us from conflict. Of course the King should intervene, because no one can do that except him. I don't think this close relationship between the SRP and Funcinpec will last long-we've seen it before."-Yuth, 25, monk.

"If the new government cannot be formed on time, then none of the ministries will have money to pay staff salaries. The best way to form a new government would be one with the three parties, but that won't work if Hun Sen still wants to be prime minister. I think Prime Minister Hun Sen should step down-technically, ten years is the maximum term for a prime minister. Beyond that, the same old prime minister won't help much. I also want the National Assembly to amend the formula for allocating seats, because until now none of the smaller parties has won a seat in the National Assembly. The result is that if the new government is formed between the three parties, we won't have anyone to oppose it."-Kuch, civil servant.



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