Cambodian leaders agree on restoration of monarchy


PHNOM PENH -- Cambodian leaders working out a new constitution have agreed that the monarchy should be restored, while the Khmer Rouge continued seeking greater powers for the king and an active role in the new government, co-Prime Minister Prince Norodom Ranariddh said Wednesday.

'All the Cambodian parties represented here in the Constitutional Assembly want the restoration of the monarchy,' Ranariddh told journalists during a break from the debate.


'It is a question of hours' before a draft constitution providing for a Cambodian monarchy is approved, Ranariddh said.

The 120-member assembly is meeting to debate the draft constitution, which is expected to be ratified by Friday.

If the proposed constitution is adopted, Cambodia will reinstate the monarchy, more than 30 years after the last king died.

Although in the proposed constitution Sihanouk would receive considerable powers allowing him to play an active role in every branch of government, Ranariddh said he received a letter from Khmer Rouge leader Khieu Samphan which said, 'The King does not have enough power.'

The Khmer Rouge also called for for a power-sharing arrangement which would grant the faction 15 percent control over ministries and 20 percent control over the armed forces, Ranariddh said.


Ranariddh, president of the royalist party Funcinpec and son of Head of State Prince Norodom Sihanouk - the king of Cambodia if the draft constitution is adopted - dismissed the Khmer Rouge demands.

'It appears that the Khmer Rouge are more royalist than royalist Funcinpec itself,' Ranariddh said.

'Everything has to be abided by the election,' Ranariddh said, referring to the United Nations-sponsored poll in May.

Since the Khmer Rouge - the faction held reponsible for the deaths of more than one million people during their 1975-79 rule - boycotted the election, the amount of power they should have is 'simply zero,' Ranariddh said.

Also, constitutional provisions allowing for either one or two prime ministers have already been adopted by the assembly, Ranariddh said.

Ranariddh, whose Funcinpec party won the May election, currently shares the position of Prime Minister with Hun Sen, whose Cambodian People's Party lost the poll.

Sihanouk - who is currently in Beijing receiving medical care - proposed the continuation of the co-Prime Minister system, Ranriddh said.

'This formula will be acceptable of course to Hun Sen,' Ranariddh said.

Ranariddh finished his remarks by accusing demonstrators who are calling for less power on the part of the king of having links to the C. I.A.


'The king reigns but definitely does not govern the people,' Ranariddh said.

Latest Headlines