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Cambodia 1993 Elections

Over 4 million Cambodians (about 90% of eligible voters) participated in the May 1993 elections, although the Khmer Rouge or Party of Democratic Kampuchea (PDK), whose forces were never actually disarmed or demobilized, barred some people from participating. Prince Ranariddh's FUNCINPEC Party was the top vote recipient with a 45.5% vote, followed by Hun Sen's Cambodian People's Party and the Buddhist Liberal Democratic Party, respectively. FUNCINPEC then entered into a coalition with the other parties that had participated in the election. The parties represented in the 120-member assembly proceeded to draft and approve a new constitution, which was promulgated September 24, 1993. It established a multiparty liberal democracy in the framework of a constitutional monarchy, with the former Prince Sihanouk elevated to King. Prince Ranariddh and Hun Sen became First and Second Prime Ministers, respectively, in the Royal Cambodian Government (RGC). The constitution provides for a wide range of internationally recognized human rights.

In 1997, most of the remaining Khmer Rouge fighters accepted a government amnesty and laid down their arms, putting an end to nearly 3 decades of war. On October 4, 2004, the Cambodian National Assembly ratified an agreement with the United Nations on the establishment of a tribunal to try senior leaders responsible for the atrocities committed by the Khmer Rouge. The tribunal held its first trial, against former S-21 prison chief Kaing Guek Eav (aka Duch), in 2009, resulting in a guilty verdict and a 35 year sentence in July 2010. Duch will serve 19 years after his sentence was reduced by five years for being illegally detained by a Cambodian Military court, and by 11 years for time served since his 1999 arrest. Four more former Khmer Rouge leaders were currently being tried, and two additional investigations were in progress that may result in additional indictmentrs. Donor countries have provided over $100 million to date in support of the tribunal, including $6.8 million from the United States.

While the post-1993 period was relatively stable in comparison to the previous decades, political violence continued to be a problem through the 1990s. After rising tensions between the coalition partners, in 1997 Hun Sen led a successful coup against his rival, whom he accused of collaborating with the Khmer Rouge. Factional fighting between supporters of Prince Norodom Ranariddh and Hun Sen resulted in more than 100 FUNCINPEC deaths and a few Cambodian People's Party (CPP) casualties. The 1997 coup seriously weakened FUNCINPEC as a party and a military organization. The CPP chased Ranariddh and other FUNCINPEC leaders into exile, executed many FUNCINPEC leaders, imprisoned hundreds more, and Hun Sen took over as sole Prime Minister.

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Page last modified: 03-01-2018 18:33:47 ZULU