>NRP not seeking govt coalition deal: official


Written by Meas Sokchea
Friday, 05 September 2008
Courtesy of Phnom Penh Post

THE Norodom Ranariddh Party is not seeking a coalition government deal, its officials said Thursday, denying earlier reports that it wanted a partnership with the ruling Cambodian People’s Party.

NRP spokesman Suth Dina said the party’s priority was securing the return of its leader, Prince Norodom Ranariddh, who remains in self-imposed exile in Malaysia, where he fled in 2007 under a cloud of legal troubles.

“What we are worried about is the fact that the Prince is absent from the country,” Suth Dina said, adding that the party never requested a coalition deal with the CPP.

“What we need first is help for Ranariddh,” he said.
The NRP, created after Ranariddh was ousted as head of Funcinpec, won two seats in parliament in last month’s general election. A new government is expected to be sworn in on September 24.

The NRP had initially rejected the election results, along with Cambodia’s other opposition parties, but then abruptly endorsed them in what some observers saw as a bid to pave the way for the Prince’s return.

Government spokesman Khieu Kanharith told the Post Thursday that the CPP’s overriding goal was to create a government alongside a faction of Funcinpec that remains loyal to the ruling party, adding that the NRP was not welcome.

“We will watch the NRP for a couple more years and if they have a similar platform and vision as us, we will agree to take them,” he said.

According to official election results released Tuesday, the CPP won 90 of the National Assembly’s 123 seats, more than enough to form a government on its own.

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