PRIME Minister Hun Sen announced Wednesday that the government will no longer award other parties - including Funcinpec, its junior coalition partner - an automatic share of seats in the civil service and armed forces.
"From now on, political parties, particularly Funcinpec, must not request the appointment of their party members ... as civil servants, police and soldiers," he said in a speech at the Royal School of Administration.
"If the system of nepotism and partisanship continues and [the government] is not able to make reforms, there is a 99 percent chance we will perish."
Following the May council elections, Funcinpec Secretary General Nhek Bun Chhay said he asked Hun Sen to maintain at least 190 current Funcinpec officials in their positions at the province and district level.
"We have supported the plan of reform to neutralise the civil service and armed forces," he said Wednesday, adding that all Funcinpec officials would remain neutral, in line with the reform program.
Koul Panha, executive director of election monitor Comfrel, said that the existing laws already required civil servants and the armed forces to be politically neutral.
"The issue is that ... individual civil servants and soldiers are still doing activities to strengthen their own party, especially close to elections," he said.