The CPP’s landslide victory means they really could rule alone but they’re still giving a few positions to some – but not all – members of Funcinpec
Happier days: Funcinpec President Keo Puth Rasmey displays his ink-stained finger after voting in the July 27 polls.
fter taking a drubbing at the polls, Funcinpec is now accepting the scraps from the victorious Cambodian People's Party's table with a draft list of potential government appointments released this week suggesting the CPP will offer the royalists a vastly reduced number of positions in their new government.
"The CPP will hold all minister positions in the new mandate," CPP lawmaker Cheam Yeap told the Post on Wednesday.
Every ministerial position formerly held by Funcinpec has been given to the highest ranking CPP secretary of state at the relevant ministry. In the draft list, only 32 Funcinpec members who held posts in the last government were given the position of secretary or undersecretary of state in the new government. Cheam Yeap said that the number could drop.
"As we won a landslide victory in last month's national election, all the minister posts that formerly belonged to Funcinpec will be given to the CPP. The decision to offer more positions to Funcinpec will be made after the swearing in of the National Assembly. The recent list was just a draft," he said.
But when Prime Minister Hun Sen announced last week that the CPP intended to keep its coalition partnership alive, he specified it would only be with the Funcinpec faction led by party secretary general Nhek Bun Chhay.
Nhek Bun Chhay will keep his position as deputy prime minister and some former Funcinpec ministers will be "promoted to the position of senior minister in charge of special missions," Cheam Yeap said.
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The five Funcinpec ministers in the last government who have been given this position are Kol Pheng at the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sports; Minister of Health Nuth Sokhom; Sun Chanthol, minister of Public Works and Transport; Khun Haing, minister of Cults and Religions; and Veng Sereyvuth, minister of Culture and Fine Arts.
Off the list
Conspicuously absent from the list were Funcinpec's President Keo Puth Rasmey, parliamentary candidate Prince Norodom Arun Rasmey, first deputy president Lu Laysreng and second deputy president Prince Sisowath Sirirath, the faction of Funcinpec who allied the party to the opposition immediately after the election and rejected the poll results.
"I am not disappointed despite my not being given a position in the new government," said Lu Laysreng, deputy prime minister and currently Minister of Rural Development, who added that any positions which Funcinpec would receive should be seen as a "gift" from CPP.
His own position has been given to Chea Sophara, former governor of Phnom Penh and currently a secretary of state at the Ministry of Land Management.
"It's a government of the CPP not a coalition government like before," said Koul Panha, executive director of the Committee for Free and Fair Elections in Cambodia.
"Every decision, responsibility and all accountability belongs to the CPP."