Selected Comments Samdech Techo Hun Sen at the Meeting with Political Parties Leaders [Unofficial Translation]

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Leaving Competition Aside

First of all, I wish to express my warm welcome to Samdech, Prince, Excellencies, Lok Chumteavs, for responding to my invitations for today’s consultation forum. It is a new historic event showing that after a relentless competition to gain people’s trust, we are now leaving aside (our differences) and start working on a process in which we can work together to build our country. It will not be long before the commune elections to be held in 2022 and the general elections to be held in 2023. I think, however, it would be the best way to gather as many contributions and participations as possible for the sake of national construction rather than waiting for another elections campaign to come by, and in the means time, leave it all to the ruling party to work it alone.

More Than One Parties in National Assembly, There Would Still Be Consultation

Participations from political parties would be important for national development. It is in this meaning that I am taking this opportune moment to affirm to Samdech, Prince, Excellencies, Lok Chumteavs that should there be more than one political parties elected to the National Assembly, I would still convene this kind of consultation. You may ask why? Look, we used to have participations of 39 political parties in 2003 general elections and finally only three of them could made it to the National Assembly. Many others were outside the National Assembly. This pattern of development has gone on and on. It is in this understanding that in this term, should there be more than one political parties elected to the National Assembly, I would invite political parties to join such consultation with the Royal Government still. This forum has been convened not because the Cambodian People’s Party wins the full-house seats.

Leave No Political Parties with Will for National Construction Out of Politics

I wish to clarify that I do not wish to leave political parties who are willing to join us building the country to stay out of politics. I thank one political party leader for sending me a letter on 6 August asking for a possibility to let leaders of all 19 political parties to observe National Assembly sessions. As we are meeting here today, what we will achieve would be more than what she has asked for. As for National Assembly sessions, you may know that even students can ask to be observers. However, they may not be able to do so for the Royal Government’s Cabinet meeting.

A Forum between Prime Minister and Contested Political Parties

In today’s meeting I wish to reiterate that it is not a meeting between (ruling) political party and other political parties. I am convening this consultative meeting not in my capacity as President of the Cambodian People’s Party with all of you. I am meeting you in my capacity as Prime Minister of the Royal Government. Today, Samdech Say Chhum, Vice President of the Cambodian People’s Party represents the Cambodian People’s Party, with participations of sixteen other political parties. I heard that one political party may show up late because of congested traffics […] it is in this note that I reaffirm that our consultative forum today is between the Royal Government and political parties (contested for seats in the National Assembly in 2018). I am stressing on this to avoid misinterpretations by some, for example the press […] recently, there had been interpretations about the way HM the King designated a Prime Minister […]

At NA Senior Member’s Recommendation, HM the King Designates PM

It is important that they should read a paragraph relating to this issue. They may look for related article in the Constitution for any decisions to be made. In the article 119-New (formerly article 100) of the Constitution, it is required that recommendation must be made from the President of the National Assembly with approvals from the two Vice Presidents of the National Assembly. HM the King, based on that recommendation, shall designate a dignitary from among the representatives of winning party to form the Royal Government and present themselves to the National Assembly to ask for a vote of confidence. However, for this process of designation, HM the King based his decision on recommendation from senior member of the National Assembly. This has emphasized that we are implementing additional Constitutional law concerning regular functioning of state institutions. Some politicians, on this point, because of expressed will of opposition, do not delineate its meaning […]

Meeting to Resolve Misunderstanding

… There is no one to point a finger at in this case. This could have happen been because of the fact that there were never a meeting. It is in this concept that I wish to have a meeting. Only by meeting and talking to each other, we will be able to sort things out together. Any interpretations made through the press or social media would not do it […] (the Light of Khemara Party showed up), take for instance the Local Democracy Party made a statement addressing three points – firstly, Prime Minister’s initiative is in conformity to what they have in their national reconciliation booklet; secondly, they would join the process after the functioning of the Royal Government and National Assembly; and thirdly, they asked the Royal Government to clarify related procedures and mechanism […]

It Is Political Parties’ Right to Come Up with Mechanism

I wish to take this moment to clarify, should I tell them what kind of mechanism I have in mind, it would be a predetermined design for which they would not have their say. I wish to leave every right to you all to discuss and consult with me the mechanism that you all think would be the best one for our nation. I do not come up with agenda or predesigned mechanism. If I were to have them made in advance, why would I ask you all to come? […] I wanted you to discuss with me and I will bring up my concept about “the suggested mechanism and how do we proceed with effectiveness and each political party has its chance to contribute its opinion to the Royal Government.

Political Discussion Awaits Mechanism

I wish to make clear that we have not got to discuss politics yet. It is easy to understand. We have not come up with the required mechanism yet, so we cannot proceed to talking politics. If we were to do so it would be similar to handing out leaflets at the time of elections campaign. People may take them and place them in trash, keep them somewhere they never even look at […] if we were to do that, we would have people coming in and talking, and leaving in the end. How do we go about ensuring effectiveness from this? On another note, each and every political party has already presented its political platform to the Cambodian people already […]

Time to Start Implementing Political Platform, Serving People

On another note, this is not the time to do a presentation of political platform of political parties but to start implementing and taking actions to serve people. I still see that what the League of Democracy Party said was not wrong. Only maybe we did not have time to talk and explain to each other. They said that they would not (this forum) because firstly they respect the will of the Cambodian people who voted for the Cambodian People’s Party. However, as Prime Minister, I have made it clear that (in conducting this forum) principles of political party is not involved […] this could have been only a lack of explanation and/or relations and dialogue. There will be political package but the process and implementation of such mechanism/policies would require consultation. For instance in agriculture, […] it is not necessary true that every policies issued by the Royal Government are perfect and applicable […] they may need amendment and adjustment […]

There are clear need in policy formulation and draft law that I am seeking presence of political parties. It is not to seek your supports to the Cambodian Political Party that is going to lead the Royal Government or to help frame political platform of the Royal Government […] take for instance we have just implemented policies covering female employees in pregnancy employed as civil servants, armed forces, and registered and non-registered workers […] we are making an additional step into providing assistance to women in pregnancy of poor households. Due to limited resources, we have not made a big step yet on that front. There will be many issues. We cannot not expect a package of seasoning to make our soup taste great or a chef would not be able to cook to everyone taste. This is what I would say to frame our discussion today […]./.