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Cambodia's three major parties reached tentative agreement Wednesday on plans to form a new coalition government following months of political deadlock, RFA's Khmer service reports.

Under the tentative plan, Cambodian People�s Party leader (CPP) Hun Sen would remain prime minister, royalist FUNCINPEC leader Prince Ranariddh would remain National Assembly chairman, and Sam Rainsy of the Sam Rainsy Party (SRP) would become deputy prime minister or a third vice-chairman in the National Assembly.

�There are still many gaps to be filled requiring some more time and more meetings, either summit meetings or technical meetings,� Sam Rainsy told RFA after the summit. He described the plan as a working agreement in principle, and he hasn't yet said whether he would accept the post of deputy prime minister or third National Assembly vice-chairman.

In a public address , King Sihanouk, the host of the talks said, "Prince Ranariddh's FUNCINPEC Party and the Sam Rainsy Party told me they would not oppose any candidate proposed by the CPP as prime minister. The plan also calls for creation of two committees to oversee National Assembly affairs and a five-year political agenda for the new government.

A spokesman for the Sam Rainsy Party, Ung Bun-ang , told reporters that "the main thing is we agreed to set up two committees. One is to alter the rules of the National Assembly and the second is to create strategies and policy plans for a new government program.�

A spokesman for Hun Sen also welcomed the plan. "The meeting saw the three parties agree with each other to organize and set up the National Assembly�s structure, with its leading engine composed of the three parties,� Om Yin Tieng told RFA. �The second point is that the three parties agreed to form a tripartite government led by the CPP�s prime-ministerial candidate, namely Hun Sen.�

Once an agreement is drawn up, it must be approved by King Sihanouk and the National Assembly with a two-thirds vote of confidence, which is required to make the plan official.

The FUNCINPEC and Sam Rainsy parties, which formed an alliance after July elections to oust Hun Sen as prime minister, are still holding out for a no-confidence vote in a bid to retire Hun Sen as head of government.

In July, Hun Sen�s CPP gained 73 seats in the National Assembly while FUNCINPEC Party and Sam Rainsy Party won 26 and 24 seats, respectively. Without a two-thirds majority, the CPP must form a coalition government to legally retain the leadership.


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