After hosting 16 of the Kingdom’s 20 registered parties at the inaugural meeting of the Consultation Forum, two additional parties earlier this week announced their intention to join the group but pushed back against the idea of opposition leaders receiving salaries.
Despite missing the initial forum on August 21, leaders from the Grassroots Democratic Party (GDP) and Our Motherland Party expressed their desire to be a part of the advisory group.
However, GDP leader Yang Saing Koma floated the idea that any funds given to the leaders should be directly distributed to their parties.
Speaking in front of 14,700 workers from six factories in Por Sen Chey district, Phnom Penh, on Wednesday, Hun Sen welcomed the two parties but demanded they submit formal administrative letters before joining the group.
“The day before yesterday [Tuesday], I read in The Phnom Penh Post that there are two political parties that want to join the Consultation Forum. You need to reply with a formal administrative letter to ask the Prime Minister, as the royal decree has already been drafted,” he said.
‘No reason for stress’
On Saing Koma’s request for funds, Hun Sen said: “Some parties said they should not take the salary, but they ask for assistance for their political party in cash. That depends on you. You can use your salary to support your party. There is no need to get so stressed about it,” he said.
Responding, Saing Koma said it is the right of the prime minister to decide whether to accept his suggestion or not.
On Wednesday, he said his party was taking a two-month vacation and would not file a formal letter until the end of October.
Analysts have questioned whether the Consultation Forum will be able to influence decisions made by the National Assembly, which will be wholly controlled by the Cambodian People’s Party.
The upcoming mandate marks the first time in the nation’s modern history that the National Assembly is controlled by a single party.