When will the new government be formed? The debating panel, above, answered this question at the Foreign Correspondents Club in Phnom Penh on April 1 - from left to right: Michael Hayes, publisher of the Phnom Penh Post: 2004; Mike Bird, country manager Oxfam: May Day (May 1); Dr Lao Mong Hay, political analyst: When the king returns; Nisha Agrawal, country manager World Bank: 2004; Bretton Sciaroni, legal partner: No prediction, I've been wrong too often.
rime Minister Hun Sen says the government cannot afford to increase salaries for
He was responding in a televised address to a Funcinpec Party demand as part of the
coalition talks that public servants be paid a minimum of $100 a month [currently
a soldier is paid $15 and a schoolteacher $30 a month, compared to garment factory
workers on $45].
Replying to repeated criticism of his government's failure to combat poverty and
corruption, Hun Sen said he accepted that his government is full of bureaucracy and
corruption that must be dealt with.
"There could be a revolution by the people if there is no social justice, if
poverty increases, and we do not build schools, roads, bridges, irrigation and hospitals."
Cambodia remains one of the world's poorest countries, with virtually no progress
achieved in poverty reduction over the last ten years.
Talks on forming a coalition government between Funcinpec and the Cambodian People's
Party resumed yesterday after apparently making no real progress in the last meeting
on April 1. The elections were nine months ago and Funcinpec spokesman Kassie Neou
said: "I think we are setting a world record."
The parties are discussing a draft of 73 points including an independent national
commission of human rights; public forums held every three months; the prime minister
to answer to the National Assembly every month; and commitment to an annual public
national congress as required by the constitution.