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Cambodia: 1993

1956: Cambodia

1957: Cambodia
1958: Cambodia
1959: Cambodia
1960: Cambodia
1961: Cambodia
1962: Cambodia
1963: Cambodia
1964: Cambodia
1965: Cambodia
1966: Cambodia
1967: Cambodia
1968: Cambodia
1969: Cambodia
1970: Cambodia
1971: Cambodia
1972: Cambodia (Khmer Republic)
1973: Cambodia (Khmer Republic)
1974: Cambodia (Khmer Republic)
1975: Cambodia
1976: Cambodia
1977: Cambodia
1978: Cambodia
1979: Cambodia
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1981: Cambodia
1982: Cambodia
1983: Cambodia
1984: Cambodia
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1986: Cambodia
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1989: Cambodia
1990: Cambodia
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1992: Cambodia
1993: Cambodia
1994: Cambodia
1995: Cambodia
1996: Cambodia
1997: Cambodia
1998: Archaeology: Radar Reveals Hidden Ruins in Cambodia
1998: Cambodia: Hun Sen Declares Election Victory
1998: Pol Pot Dies at 73
1998: Coalition Government

Archives consist of articles that originally appeared in Collier's Year Book (for events of 1997 and earlier) or as monthly updates in Encarta Yearbook (for events of 1998 and later). Because they were published shortly after events occurred, they reflect the information available at that time. Cross references refer to Archive articles of the same year.


1993: Cambodia

In spite of enormous obstacles, Cambodia held national elections May 23-28, the first such democratic process in its history. The royalist party, United National Front for an Independent, Neutral, Peaceful, and Cooperative Cambodia (Funcinpec), won a plurality, replacing the Vietnam-installed administration with a coalition government. The monarchy was restored, under Prince Norodom Sihanouk as head of state, and the United Nations withdrew its peacekeeping mission. Violence continued, however, despite terms of the October 1991 Paris peace agreement that was supposed to put an end to 13 years of horrendous civil war.

The Election.

A 90 percent turnout of voters gave 45 percent of the vote and 58 seats in the 120-seat constituent assembly to Funcinpec, led by Prince Norodom Ranariddh, son of Sihanouk but also his political rival. The Cambodian People's Party, representing the Communist Hun Sen regime installed by Vietnam in 1979, received 38 percent of the vote and 51 seats, and the Buddhist Liberal Democratic Party polled 3 percent and won ten seats. Moulinaka, an offshoot of Funcinpec, won the remaining seat. The Khmer Rouge boycotted the elections and made strenuous attempts to disrupt them, claiming that they were being rigged by the Hun Sen regime. However, violence was minimal. Ironically, when Hun Sen was defeated and initially refused to accept the results, the Khmer Rouge was vociferous in insisting that the election's outcome be ratified.

There was further postelection confusion in June when Ranariddh's half brother, Prince Norodom Chakrapong, a political maverick who was a deputy prime minister in the Hun Sen regime, left the capital with a group of officials and proclaimed the formation of a secessionist state representing seven provinces adjacent to Vietnam. The secession collapsed days later and Chakrapong fled to Vietnam, returning soon after to seek his father's forgiveness.

In early June, Sihanouk met with the constituent assembly to propose a compromise, with himself as head of state, but not prime minister, and with Ranariddh and Hun Sen sharing power as first premier and second premier, respectively. This was confirmed in September, when a new, democratic constitution was overwhelmingly adopted. The constituent assembly became a national assembly, and Sihanouk assumed the throne on September 24.

Role of the UN.

The elections were supervised by the largest-ever United Nations peacekeeping mission, Untac (the United Nations Transitional Authority in Cambodia), consisting of more than 20,000 soldiers, police, and civilian personnel. It was led by a Japanese head of mission, Yasushi Akashi, and marked the first time Japan had deployed soldiers overseas since World War II. The Khmer Rouge accused Akashi and Untac of bias in favor of the Hun Sen regime and of seeking to reimpose neocolonial domination, and it repeatedly kidnapped and attacked UN personnel. Between mid-1992, when Untac arrived, and November 1993, when it finally withdrew, more than 50 UN employees were killed in incidents mostly attributed to the Khmer Rouge.

The UN came under increasing criticism for the conduct of its operations in Cambodia (and in other trouble spots where it has taken an interventionist role). In documents submitted to the World Conference on Human Rights in Vienna, June 14-25, for example, a human rights group charged Untac with condoning assassinations of opponents by the Hun Sen regime and of ignoring many instances of ethnic violence directed against Vietnamese and other minorities by both the Hun Sen regime and the Khmer Rouge.

Anti-Vietnamese Sentiment.

The Khmer Rouge, in particular, sought popular support during and after the election by inciting animosities against Vietnamese settlers in Cambodia, some of whom arrived during the Hun Sen regime, but thousands of whom had lived in the country for generations. More than 100 ethnic Vietnamese farmers and fishermen were killed in Cambodia in 1993, and 30,000 others fled to Vietnam. In September, Premier Ranariddh visited Hanoi to request restoration of the 1967 borders between the two countries, in place of those that had been negotiated by the Hun Sen regime in the 1980s. The question of whether the ethnic Vietnamese refugees might return to Cambodia was apparently sidestepped.

Continuing Hostilities.

Untac also failed in its mandate to disarm the warring factions. Late in 1993 the Khmer Rouge still had an estimated 15,000 or more soldiers in control of about 15 percent of the country (with about 5 percent of the population), and they continued to sabotage roads, bridges, and communications facilities. The other three factions in the new, governing coalition unified their armed forces under a single command, numbering about 250,000. A series of government offensives in August were reported to have reclaimed large areas, resulting in over 2,000 Khmer Rouge defections. Withdrawal of the UN peacekeeping forces, however, increased concern about future hostilities.

Economic Situation.

The economy was on the brink of chaos, with high inflation and an unstable currency. Rice prices increased more than tenfold in the first half of 1993, and costs of gasoline, charcoal, fish, and pork quadrupled. The Khmer Rouge issued its own competing currency, and many traders would accept only gold or foreign currency. Despite pledges of foreign aid to rebuild the country's infrastructure, the departure of UN and other agency personnel made Cambodia's future very uncertain.

Microsoft ® Encarta ® Encyclopedia 2002. © 1993-2001 Microsoft Corporation. All rights reserved.

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