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.

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
Life and Style
food + drink
Arts and Entertainment
musicBand's first new record for 20 years has some tough acts to follow
Shoppers in Covent Garden, London, celebrate after they were the first to buy the iPhone 6, released yesterday
Liam Payne has attacked the media for reporting his tweet of support to Willie Robertson and the subsequent backlash from fans
peopleBut One Direction star insists he is not homophobic
Life and Style
healthFor Pure-O OCD sufferers this is a reality they live in
Arts and Entertainment
A bit rich: Maggie Smith in Downton Abbey
tvSeries 5 opening episode attracts lowest ratings since drama began
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating

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

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

English Teacher

£120 - £130 per day: Randstad Education Luton: ENGLISH TEACHER REQUIREDWe are ...

Trainee / Experienced Recruitment Consultants

£20000 - £25000 per annum + OTE £40,000: SThree: SThree are a global FTSE 250 ...

Science Teacher

£6720 - £33600 per annum: Randstad Education Nottingham: We are currently recr...

Supply teachers needed in Wigan!

£12000 - £24000 per annum: Randstad Education Manchester Secondary: Due to the...

Day In a Page

A roller-coaster tale from the 'voice of a generation'

Not That Kind of Girl:

A roller-coaster tale from 'voice of a generation' Lena Dunham
London is not bedlam or a cradle of vice. In fact it, as much as anywhere, deserves independence

London is not bedlam or a cradle of vice

In fact it, as much as anywhere, deserves independence
Vivienne Westwood 'didn’t want' relationship with Malcolm McLaren

Vivienne Westwood 'didn’t want' relationship with McLaren

Designer 'felt pressured' into going out with Sex Pistols manager
Jourdan Dunn: Model mother

Model mother

Jordan Dunn became one of the best-paid models in the world
Apple still coolest brand – despite U2 PR disaster

Apple still the coolest brand

Despite PR disaster of free U2 album
Scottish referendum: The Yes vote was the love that dared speak its name, but it was not to be

Despite the result, this is the end of the status quo

Boyd Tonkin on the fall-out from the Scottish referendum
Manolo Blahnik: The high priest of heels talks flats, Englishness, and why he loves Mary Beard

Manolo Blahnik: Flats, Englishness, and Mary Beard

The shoe designer who has been dubbed 'the patron saint of the stiletto'
The Beatles biographer reveals exclusive original manuscripts of some of the best pop songs ever written

Scrambled eggs and LSD

Behind The Beatles' lyrics - thanks to Hunter Davis's original manuscript copies
'Normcore' fashion: Blending in is the new standing out in latest catwalk non-trend

'Normcore': Blending in is the new standing out

Just when fashion was in grave danger of running out of trends, it only went and invented the non-trend. Rebecca Gonsalves investigates
Dance’s new leading ladies fight back: How female vocalists are now writing their own hits

New leading ladies of dance fight back

How female vocalists are now writing their own hits
Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

A shot in the dark

Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
His life, the universe and everything

His life, the universe and everything

New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
Save us from small screen superheroes

Save us from small screen superheroes

Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
Reach for the skies

Reach for the skies

From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

12 best hotel spas in the UK

Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments