The new four-man Supreme ruling Council of the Khmer Republic appeared together in public on Wednesday (18 May), in a demonstration of unity aimed at improving the shaky demeanour of the beleaguered government of President Lon No1.
GV TILT DOWN & SV Buddhists at ceremony lighting candles (2 shots)
SV New Prime Minister walking up street
SV Girls singing and praying
SV PAN..Sirit Matak, Foreign Affairs, up steps onto rostrum (3 shots)
SV Cheng Heng up, greeted, onto platform
GV PAN people
SV Crowd and drummers in band (2 shots)
SV Lon No1 out of car, greeted by new government members
SV People looking on
MV Lon No1 on platform
MV Government officials carrying flowers
MV Lon No1 walking
SV Government officials with flowers
SV Lon No1 with flowers at ceremony
Initials ES. 2206 ES.2242
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Background: The new four-man Supreme ruling Council of the Khmer Republic appeared together in public on Wednesday (18 May), in a demonstration of unity aimed at improving the shaky demeanour of the beleaguered government of President Lon No1.
The President and the three other members of the Supreme Council, -- Prime Minister In Tam, former Prince Sirik Matak, and Cheng Hong -- chose a Buddhist ceremony outside the Republic's Presidential Palace for the occasion.
The new Khmer cabinet had just been named at the Palace. But the four men are believed to hold most power in the form of "super-ministries", controlling major policy areas such as foreign and interior affairs and the army.
In Tam, the new Prime Minister is a popular former General, noted for his personal integrity. Sirik Matak, is now to handle the Republic' foreign affairs and Cheng Hong, former chief of state, in believed responsible for interior affairs.
The four council members led the overthrow of former Chief-of-State Prince Sihanouk three years ago. But Lon No1 forced the others from power in his drive to be top man in the country.
But faced with a badly deteriorating war situation, with Khmer Rouge guerrillas in control of huge areas of countryside and the United States showing impatience about continuing military aid, the President had to bring his three rivals back to share power.
The council is expected to make all important decisions in the Republic, with other ministers answerable to the four leaders.
The Council faces a difficult task of reforming a corrupt and demoralized army and streamlining a paralysed and inefficient civil service. And even more difficult, they must find a way to deal with the Khmer Rouge -- who have said they will have nothing to do with the members of the Supreme Council.