Guerrilla Democracy

Cambodia sets a date for elections but gains no assurance of peace

CAN A DEMOCRACY BE BORN WHILE BULLETS ARE flying? Cambodia may find out May 23-25, the date set for U.N.-sponsored elections for a national assembly. The Vietnam-installed government and three guerrilla groups, including the Khmer Rouge, agreed to the timetable, but there was no guarantee that the warring factions would put aside their ethnic hatred long enough to vote. Both the government and the Khmer Rouge have been accused of killing off enemies in a series of massacres. According to U.N. peacekeepers, a Khmer Rouge soldier confessed that he and other guerrillas slaughtered a group of 15 Vietnamese living in Cambodia.

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