Cambodian head of state Prince Norodom Sihanouk Friday dissolved a government of national reconciliation he had formed only the day before and then took to his bed.
"The prince is taken ill," a U.N. official said.The illness caused the cancellation of a Saturday meeting of Cambodia's Supreme National Council (SNC), an all-faction consultative body created early in the United Nations-backed peace process.
The SNC, which Sihanouk chairs, was meeting for the first time since the ruling Cambodian People's Party (CPP) threatened to reject the results of last week's U.N.-run election when it became clear that it was trailing the royalist FUNCINPEC party at the polls.
Sihanouk, famous for his political flip-flops, said Friday a coalition government of FUNCINPEC and the CPP under his direction that he had proclaimed only the evening before was unworkable.
Sihanouk's sudden declaration Thursday evening that he was assuming all executive powers in Cambodia upset the royalist FUNCINPEC. Royalist officials said it disrupted the democratic process that Cambodians had sacrificed so much for.
His equally abrupt about-face left the 14-year-old Phnom Penh government smarting as it reluctantly took up again the administration of the 80 percent of Cambodia it controls.
"We are not happy," Gen. Pan Thay, chief spokesman for Phnom Penh's armed forces, said Friday. "We need Prince Sihanouk. We support a new government like yesterday, but it seems Prince (Norodom) Ranariddh does not accept the proposal."