Secure Cambodia's Victory

Article excerpt

PUTTING aside threats from Khmer Rouge guerrillas, and astonishing the international community, fully 90 percent of the 4.7 million Cambodian population turned out to vote in UN-sponsored elections last week. The vote is a testament to the resilience of the Cambodian people, who in the late 1970s and early 1980s were subjected to some of the most brutal terrors of the period. It is also a victory for the UN, which has spent $2 billion in Cambodia since 1991 and held to a course of multiparty elections despite Khmer attacks killing 10 soldiers and officials. (The Japanese contingent performing their first UN peacekeeping duty are due thanks.)

But the celebration may be short-lived if a new and unsettling development is unchecked. Election results for the new 120-member Cambodian assembly are favoring the opposition party led by Prince Norodom Sihanouk. Now the current government led by Hun Sen is claiming fraud and wants new elections in three key districts. These stalling tactics, on the eve of defeat, represent a betrayal of the Cambodian people and of the peaceful elections process.

The United Nations is rightly resisting Hun Sen's tactic. Supported by China and the United States, the UN has declared the elections valid. …