GOVERNMENT IN CAMBODIA


Dear Sir,
I read with interest the various articles written about the situation in Cambodia. The point that is missed, time and again, by so called legal experts and diplomats, is that Hun Sen holds no right to govern Cambodia, if the election results are eventually accepted by all parties or not. He has been elected to a single seat in the Parliament. Yet, everyone from diplomats to the Monarch of Cambodia, seem to believe he was elected to be Prime Minister.

Even within the Cambodian People's Party this is not accepted by many. Hun Sen leads no political party and has no political position, different from anyone else in the CPP. His position is subordinate to Chea Sim and others.

For people to call on King Sihanouk, to intervene, is something the majority of Cambodians do not desire. The manipulation by the King and his wife have brought much of the violence onto the Cambodians, in the recent past. He has always worried more about succession and his own position than about who the political leaders would be.

Unfortunately the actions of King Sihanouk in the distant past and just prior to the coup last year, rule out any moral high ground on which he can stand in this situation. The rule of law states that Hun Sen cannot form a Government alone. The formation of the Government should be left in the hands of the leaders of the main political parties. These are the personalities involved, by law. They are Chea Sim, Prince Noradom Rannaridh and Sam Rainsy. Sihanouk and Hun Sen are not in that group and have no say.

In the Armed Forces of Cambodia and in the aftermath of the elections, the media and the United Nations, seem to forget that General Ke Kim Yang is the Chief of Staff and Chea Sim is the head of the CPP. If Cambodians, including the Monarch, recognize this, a Government of national unity can be formed and the Army will not intervene. But don't hold your breath. King Sihanouk loves the idea that he can exercise some power in forming a Government and the West and ASEAN support that. Unfortunately he has no right to intervene and every time he has, it has been to offer an unworkable solution, with no basis in democratic principles. If the Constitution is obeyed and the will of the people followed, who will become the next Monarch in Cambodia, should have no bearing on what politician governs as Prime Minister. That is for the political parties to decide and not King Shanouk and Hun Sen.

The perfect solution is for Chea Sim to form a Government with the other two parties and to name Hun Sen as a Special Advisor to King Sihanouk. General Ke Kim Yang can then reassert his authority over the Armed Forces and the King and Hun Sen can play Palace intrigue to their hearts content. Perhaps, Sihanouk would like to name Hok Lundy, the National Police Chief his advisor on security. Then Cambodia can get to the business of rebuilding the nation and giggle to themselves about the incoherent yammerings coming out of the various palaces in Cambodia, Beijing and North Korea.


Copyright 1998, by Mark A. Smith, Major, USA, Retired

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