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Cambodia -- two decades of political turbulence

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(Globalpost/GlobalPost)

Cambodia has been shaken by a series of political crises since it emerged from decades of civil war and the murderous reign of the Khmer Rouge.

Here are the main episodes in the country's sometimes violent recent political past:

- 1993: POST KHMER ROUGE ELECTIONS

After decades of civil war and roughly two million deaths during the Khmer Rouge "Killing Fields" era in the late 1970s, a peace treaty is signed in 1991 placing Cambodia under UN supervision until elections are held.

The royalist FUNCINPEC receives 47 percent of the vote in the 1993 polls, beating the party of Hun Sen, a former Khmer Rouge cadre who defected and was installed as prime minister in 1985 by Vietnamese forces who ousted the brutal communist regime.

FUNCINPEC leader Prince Norodom Ranariddh -- son of King Sihanouk -- becomes prime minister, but under pressure from the United Nations, Hun Sen is named second prime minister.

- 1997: HUN SEN OUSTS RIVAL

Hun Sen accuses Ranariddh of seeking to destabilise the country and ousts the prince in a widely condemned move in July 1997 that leaves dozens dead in factional street fighting in Phnom Penh.

The violence spreads to other regions where Hun Sen forces clash with troops loyal to Ranariddh for several months.

- 1998: POST-ELECTION CRISIS

Hun Sen's Cambodian People's Party (CPP) wins fresh elections in July 1998 but without a two-thirds majority in parliament needed to form a new government.

Following accusations by the opposition of electoral fraud, violence breaks out during protests in the capital, leaving several people dead. In September, Hun Sen escapes unharmed after a grenade attack on his convoy that leaves one person dead.

In November, after months of crisis, a coalition is finally formed between CPP and FUNCIPEC. Hun Sen remains prime minister and Ranariddh becomes president of the National Assembly.

FUNCINPEC ally Sam Rainsy -- who was not included in the coalition -- becomes the de facto opposition chief.

- 2003-2004: ONE YEAR TO FORM A GOVERNMENT

Despite another election victory in July 2003, the CPP is again left without a two-thirds majority necessary to form a government. A year of political deadlock ensues until the CPP finally forms another coalition with FUNCINPEC, keeping Hun Sen in power.

In 2006, the constitution is amended to reduce the required majority of seats needed to form a government to more than 50 percent, paving the way for Hun Sen and his party to extend their term in office after the next election in 2008.

- 2013: NEW POST-ELECTION CRISIS

The CPP wins July elections with 68 seats out of 123, against 55 for the Cambodia National Rescue Party (CNRP) headed by Hun Sen's main rival Sam Rainsy.

The opposition rejects the result, alleging widespread vote fraud. A series of mass protests in the capital trigger clashes that leave one person dead and several wounded.

Hun Sen ignores a boycott of parliament and presses ahead with the formation of a new government.

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http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/afp/130923/cambodia-two-decades-political-turbulence