To avert a dangerous contradiction of powers in the post electoral period, preparations
should be made to form a provisional government drawn from the National Assembly,
a Belgian academic has proposed.
Raoul Jennar, author of the Cambodian Chronicles, said that during this period there
will be two conflicting claims of legitimacy and two opposing expressions of national
The U.N.-supervised elections will produce a National Assembly which Jennar contends
will be the only legitimate Cambodian institution. But according to the letter of
the Paris agreements, the Supreme National Council, the reconciliation body which
groups the four rival factions, is the "sole legitimate source of authority"
and the embodiment of Cambodian sovereignty during the transitional period. This
transitional period lasts until a new constitution is drawn up by the Assembly. Three
months were allocated for this task.
Jennar said the SNC, was "born from the compromises of foreign powers and imposed
on the Cambodians," while the National Assembly, the result of universal suffrage,
would be the representation of the true will of the Cambodian people.
After the elections, he said, it will no longer be possible for any SNC faction to
claim it alone represents the will of the people.
But despite this, Jennar questions whether, during the three month period, the
factions could continue to act in a manner which would constitute a flagrant contradiction
of the election results. For example, he asks, could the Cambodian People's Party
continue to govern almost 80 percent of the country if they did not have a majority
in the Assembly? Or could FUNCINPEC continue to rule their zone in Ampil-Phum Khu
if they have no representative elected in the province of Banteay Meanchey?
"Accepting opposing legitimacies and a government situation which, for 12 weeks,
fails to implement the will of the voters, is exposing Cambodia to great risk,"
Jennar said, adding that this particular period is already expected to be extremely
volatile due to the failure of crucial aspects of the peace plan such as the demobilization
of 70 percent of the country's armed forces or the creation of a genuine neutral
As a solution to the potential problems, Jennar proposes the formation of an interim
government which reflects the various party's representation in the Assembly. "A
provisional government of national unity would be a decisive element of stability,"
he said. He also claimed it would facilitate the transition of authority and also
help the formation of the majority needed to approve the constitution.
As soon as the Assembly is installed, Prince Norodom Sihanouk should organize discussions
to propose a mandate for the provisional government, Jennar said. "The mandate
would be defined by the deliberation of the Assembly which invested it," he
"Prince Sihanouk would represent the double legitimacy of president of the SNC
and prime minister of a provisional government which draws its legitimacy from the
Assembly elected by universal suffrage," Jennar stated.
This proposal means that the power vacuum would be filled by a government which accurately
reflects the will of the electorate.
"Above all, this would avoid wasting time. The sooner a state apparatus,
a national army and security services under the control of legitimate authorities
are created, the sooner the reconstruction of the country and, in particular, improvement
of the fate of the rural population can begin. This, in turn, means a greater chance
of reducing the threat represented by Pol Pot and his outlaws," Jennar said.