Cambodia faced with threat of secession: Ruling party refuses to accept result of UN-run poll and warns of bloodshed

THE CAMBODIAN government, which still refuses to accept its defeat in last month's United Nations-run election, yesterday warned of bloodshed and secession if its complaints of voting irregularities were not investigated.

The UN Transitional Authority in Cambodia (Untac) has certified that the election was free and fair. It is treating the warnings by the Prime Minister, Hun Sen, as a heavy-handed attempt to exert pressure rather than a serious threat, but they highlight the difficulty of persuading the Phnom Penh government, with its control of the armed forces and the bureaucracy, to yield power.

Some fear a repetition of the situation in Angola, where a successful election was followed by a resumption of the civil war because the losers refused to accept the result.

Mr Hun Sen's Cambodian People's Party (CPP) took 38 per cent of the votes, and 51 seats in the national assembly, to the 45 per cent and 58 seats gained by the royalist Funcinpec party. The 120-member assembly has three months to draw up a constitution before forming a government. Both parties accept they will have to work together, but neither is willing to take a subordinate role.

Supporters of the CPP, including armed soldiers and police, have demonstrated against the UN in two provinces this week. Mr Hun Sen claimed yesterday these were spontaneous, saying: 'I can no longer control the situation. Those in the lower ranks don't have the same views as us. At this moment a number of provinces have decided to secede, and to reject the result of the election and refuse to listen to anybody.' The government says as many as six provinces in the east and north-east might be ready to break away.

The head of Untac, Yasushi Akashi, said talk of breakaway provinces was 'a move to attain certain objectives'.

Mr Hun Sen's efforts to create alarm appear to be directed mainly at the country's former ruler, Prince Norodom Sihanouk. All sides accept there is little chance of a peaceful settlement without the 70-year-old Prince, but he is smarting after his attempt to form a coalition government last week fell apart within hours.

He wanted to give the CPP and Funcinpec equal power, but his son, Prince Norodom Ranariddh, who leads Funcinpec, complained that Prince Sihanouk was being stampeded by Phnom Penh's veiled threats into giving away too much.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Sales Administrator - Spanish Speaking

£17000 - £21000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is a fantastic opportunity...

Recruitment Genius: Sales Administrator - German Speaking

£17000 - £23000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is a fantastic opportunity...

Recruitment Genius: Sales Administrator - Japanese Speaking

£17000 - £23000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: If you are fluent in Japanese a...

Recruitment Genius: Graphic Designer - Immediate Start

£16000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is a fantastic opportunity...

Day In a Page

Is this the future of flying: battery-powered planes made of plastic, and without flight decks?

Is this the future of flying?

Battery-powered planes made of plastic, and without flight decks
Isis are barbarians – but the Caliphate is a dream at the heart of all Muslim traditions

Isis are barbarians

but the Caliphate is an ancient Muslim ideal
The Brink's-Mat curse strikes again: three tons of stolen gold that brought only grief

Curse of Brink's Mat strikes again

Death of John 'Goldfinger' Palmer the latest killing related to 1983 heist
Greece debt crisis: 'The ministers talk to us about miracles' – why Greeks are cynical ahead of the bailout referendum

'The ministers talk to us about miracles'

Why Greeks are cynical ahead of the bailout referendum
Call of the wild: How science is learning to decode the way animals communicate

Call of the wild

How science is learning to decode the way animals communicate
Greece debt crisis: What happened to democracy when it’s a case of 'Vote Yes or else'?

'The economic collapse has happened. What is at risk now is democracy...'

If it doesn’t work in Europe, how is it supposed to work in India or the Middle East, asks Robert Fisk
The science of swearing: What lies behind the use of four-letter words?

The science of swearing

What lies behind the use of four-letter words?
The Real Stories of Migrant Britain: Clive fled from Zimbabwe - now it won't have him back

The Real Stories of Migrant Britain

Clive fled from Zimbabwe - now it won’t have him back
Africa on the menu: Three foodie friends want to popularise dishes from the continent

Africa on the menu

Three foodie friends want to popularise dishes from the hot new continent
Donna Karan is stepping down after 30 years - so who will fill the DKNY creator's boots?

Who will fill Donna Karan's boots?

The designer is stepping down as Chief Designer of DKNY after 30 years. Alexander Fury looks back at the career of 'America's Chanel'
10 best statement lightbulbs

10 best statement lightbulbs

Dare to bare with some out-of-the-ordinary illumination
Wimbledon 2015: Heather Watson - 'I had Serena's poster on my wall – now I'm playing her'

Heather Watson: 'I had Serena's poster on my wall – now I'm playing her'

Briton pumped up for dream meeting with world No 1
Wimbledon 2015: Nick Bollettieri - It's time for big John Isner to produce the goods to go with his thumping serve

Nick Bollettieri's Wimbledon Files

It's time for big John Isner to produce the goods to go with his thumping serve
Dustin Brown: Who is the tennis player who knocked Rafael Nadal out of Wimbeldon 2015?

Dustin Brown

Who is the German player that knocked Nadal out of Wimbeldon 2015?
Ashes 2015: Damien Martyn - 'England are fired up again, just like in 2005...'

Damien Martyn: 'England are fired up again, just like in 2005...'

Australian veteran of that Ashes series, believes the hosts' may become unstoppable if they win the first Test