Political negotiations between the ruling Cambodian People's Party (CPP) and
Funcinpec have still not reached agreement for the formation of a new coalition
government and National Assembly. Spokesmen for the two parties told reporters
after talks on May 19 that the next discussions would be today.
have the same political will to form a government and assembly as soon as
possible, but we are not fortune tellers to predict when this will happen," said
Prak Sokhon, CPP's spokesman.
Sokhon and Kassie Neou, Funcinpec's
spokesman, both said the outstanding major issues were reform in the judicial
system, Cambodian territorial integrity, nationality and immigration, control of
exploitation of natural resources, public meetings to answer questions,
accreditation of educational providers, and review of private investment in the
toll-road national route 4.
"We understand each other over political
programs and we need more talk in order to find a way through," Neou said. "If
we have the political will to work together we will compromise."
and Neou told reporters they were not clear whether the issues would finally be
resolved at the level of task force negotiator or would be left for Prime
Minister Hun Sen and Funcinpec President Prince Norodom Ranariddh.
the political deadlock nearly 10 months old, King Norodom Sihanouk on May 11
invited the three main parties for an agents' meeting outside Pyongyang in North
Korea, but the offer was declined by Hun Sen and Ranariddh.
secretary-general of the United Nations, has expressed his concern about
Cambodian political crisis the same as I did," wrote the King. "Our country has
numerous obligations that must be solved urgently according to international
law. This requires us to have a new government and National Assembly."
CPP and Funcinpec decided they would not meet the King unless and until
they have a final agreement, which they then will submit to the King with a
positive result for the royal assent required by the Constitution.
King's invitation cames a day after Funcinpec threatened to withdraw from the
current coalition government, as he was concerned the situation was plunging the
country into a deeper political crisis.
In another statement the King
said he could not be held responsible for Cambodian territorial integrity and
its judges because he held no power under the Constitution.
The King has
been critical of numerous Articles under the Constitution which he said were
unreasonable and would hold him responsible for the state of the nation if the
deadlock was not resolved.
He requested a Constitutional amendment that
would remove his role as protector of national sovereignty and territorial
The Articles 7, 8, 132, and 134 of the Constitution state the
King is the guarantor of Cambodia's independence and territorial integrity and
protector of rights and freedom for all citizens and guarantor of international
treaties, chair of the Supreme Council of Magistracy and also the guarantor of
the independence of the country's judiciary.
"The King reigns, but has no
power. I am absolutely not going to be held responsible for anything that they
[the government] do," wrote the King.
The King's comment follows
widespread media reports about poverty, where Cambodians are forced to cross the
border to beg from neighbor countries, and the issues of border encroachment,
rampant corruption and lack of an independent judiciary system.
wrote that children were arrested by Thai border military police, were undressed
and forced in their underwear to walk back across landmines planted in the 1970s
"I would like to ask the poor children to beg from Samdech
Hun Sen and his wife Bunrany Hun Sen who is the head of Red Cross; this is
better than to beg from Thailand and Vietnam," wrote the King.
expressed his concern that Cambodia will automatically become a republic if
there is no Throne Council and no new government and National Assembly. The
Throne Council appoints a new King. It can only be created by a new National
Assembly. King Sihanouk is 83 years old and concerned about his health. He has
not yet named a successor.
He said the current coalition government was
unlawful and against the spirit of the Constitution.
A source (who
declined to be named in print) said the monarch complains that because of the
Constitutional inconsistency, he has been obliged to play the role of a
figurehead who can only endorse questionable decisions, sometimes with
disastrous consequences for the nation made by the government.
Oeun, director of Cambodian Defenders Project said: "I think the King must have
the power to play his role required by the Constitution."
outspoken opposition lawmaker, said the King's role doesn't work, because the
CPP has been trying to reduce his popularity.
Khieu Kanharith, CPP's
spokesman said the party had no comment about the King's views.