Sihanouk's deal falls apart: Prince withdraws plan for coalition rule

EVEN by his own standards of inconsistency, yesterday's reversal of position by Prince Norodom Sihanouk was spectacular. Cambodia's flamboyant former ruler, who announced on Thursday that he was forming a coalition government with himself as President, Prime Minister and commander of the police and armed forces, yesterday withdrew the whole idea and took to his sickbed.

Despite the Prince's attempt to bypass the complicated and expensive peace process devised for Cambodia by the United Nations, a UN spokesman was mild yesterday, saying Prince Sihanouk should be at the heart of any solution for the country. There was no doubt, however, that the 70-year-old Prince had thrown away much of his credibility.

On Thursday Prince Sihanouk announced a coalition of the two parties which took most of the votes in last week's UN- supervised poll, the royalist Funcinpec, led by his son, Prince Norodom Ranariddh, and the Cambodian People's Party (CPP), the political vehicle of Hun Sen's government. The two men were to serve under him as joint deputy prime ministers, with each government department being run jointly. This was welcome to Mr Hun Sen, whose party is trailing Funcinpec by around 38 per cent to 45 per cent as the final votes are counted, but it emerged that Prince Sihanouk had not consulted Yasushi Akashi, head of the UN Transitional Authority in Cambodia (Untac), nor kept his son fully informed.

Yesterday Prince Sihanouk said his plan had 'met a large obstacle which prevents me from successfully setting up a new government'. This was Prince Ranariddh's protest that too much was being conceded to the Phnom Penh government, which is accused of intimidation and murder.

There is no love lost between Prince Ranariddh, the product of one of his father's previous marriages, and Sihanouk's present consort, Monique.

Prince Ranariddh, 49, pointed out the dubious legality of Prince Sihanouk's move. Under the UN plan, the assembly being elected will have three months to draw up a new constitution before forming a permanent government. In the meantime, authority rests with Untac and the Supreme National Council, a largely powerless body chaired by Prince Sihanouk. He cancelled an SNC meeting scheduled for today, pleading illness.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksAn introduction to the ground rules of British democracy
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: Senior Solution Architect - Contract

£500 - £600 per day: Recruitment Genius: A Senior Solution Architect is requir...

360 Resourcing Solutions: Export Sales Coordinator

£18k - 20k per year: 360 Resourcing Solutions: ROLE: Export Sales Coordinato...

Recruitment Genius: B2B Telesales Executive - OTE £35,000+

£20000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: The largest developer of mobile...

SThree: Talent Acquisition Consultant

£22500 - £27000 per annum + OTE £45K: SThree: Since our inception in 1986, STh...

Day In a Page

How to stop an asteroid hitting Earth: Would people co-operate to face down a global peril?

How to stop an asteroid hitting Earth

Would people cooperate to face a global peril?
Just one day to find €1.6bn: Greece edges nearer euro exit

One day to find €1.6bn

Greece is edging inexorably towards an exit from the euro
New 'Iron Man' augmented reality technology could help surgeons and firefighters, say scientists

'Iron Man' augmented reality technology could become reality

Holographic projections would provide extra information on objects in a person's visual field in real time
Sugary drinks 'are killing 184,000 adults around the world every year'

Sugary drinks are killing 184,000 adults around the world every year

The drinks that should be eliminated from people's diets
Pride of Place: Historians map out untold LGBT histories of locations throughout UK

Historians map out untold LGBT histories

Public are being asked to help improve the map
Lionel, Patti, Burt and The Who rock Glasto

Lionel, Patti, Burt and The Who rock Glasto

This was the year of 24-carat Golden Oldies
Paris Fashion Week

Paris Fashion Week

Thom Browne's scarecrows offer a rare beacon in commercial offerings
A year of the caliphate:

Isis, a year of the caliphate

Who can defeat the so-called 'Islamic State' – and how?
Marks and Spencer: Can a new team of designers put the spark back into the high-street brand?

Marks and Spencer

Can a new team of designers put the spark back into the high-street brand?
'We haven't invaded France': Italy's Prime Minister 'reclaims' Europe's highest peak

'We haven't invaded France'

Italy's Prime Minister 'reclaims' Europe's highest peak
Isis in Kobani: Why we ignore the worst of the massacres

Why do we ignore the worst of the massacres?

The West’s determination not to offend its Sunni allies helps Isis and puts us all at risk, says Patrick Cockburn
7/7 bombings 10 years on: Four emergency workers who saved lives recall the shocking day that 52 people were killed

Remembering 7/7 ten years on

Four emergency workers recall their memories of that day – and reveal how it's affected them ever since
Humans: Are the scientists developing robots in danger of replicating the hit Channel 4 drama?

They’re here to help

We want robots to do our drudge work, and to look enough like us for comfort. But are the scientists developing artificial intelligence in danger of replicating the TV drama Humans?
Time to lay these myths about the Deep South to rest

Time to lay these myths about the Deep South to rest

'Heritage' is a loaded word in the Dixie, but the Charleston killings show how dangerous it is to cling to a deadly past, says Rupert Cornwell
What exactly does 'one' mean? Court of Appeal passes judgement on thorny mathematical issue

What exactly does 'one' mean?

Court of Appeal passes judgement on thorny mathematical issue