Belgium’s Impasse Record May Actually Belong to Cambodia

Belgium now holds the Guinness World Record for the country with the longest time without a government, 313 days after elections were held in June last year, according to the record keeper’s website.

But Guinness appears to overlook Cambodia, which experienced 343 days without government after its elections in July 2003.

Belgian and French newspapers have disputed the country’s unenviable title by pointing to Cambodia’s lengthy deadlock before the National Assembly formed a new coalition government headed by Prime Min­ister Hun Sen in July 2004.

“Cambodia, Belgium and Iraq, that would be the podium for the moment,” the left-leaning French newspaper Liberation wrote April 1.

Today marks the first anniversary of the Belgian government’s collapse, when the liberal Flemish Open VLD party withdrew from the country’s ruling coalition. “On 30 March 2010—290 days after elections held on 13 June 2010—Bel­gium became the country that has experienced the longest period without an official government in peacetime,” said the Guinness World Record online entry.

The country broke a 289-day re­cord held by Iraq after its general election in 2010.

“Previously, the Neth­erlands held the record in peacetime, having taken 207 days to form a government in 1977,” said the website, which omits Cambodia’s impasse.

After Cambodian voters went to the polls on July 27, 2003, Prince Norodom Ranariddh and Sam Rainsy launched their Alliance of Democrats to oppose the CPP’s election victory.

The alliance aimed to force Mr Hun Sen to step down and ensure that royalists and opposition join the CPP-lead government together. But after an almost year-long impasse, Funcinpec rejoined the CPP in a third government mandate with the Sam Rainsy Party left outside the coalition once again.

“After a deadlock of more than 11 months, we did not slip into a culture of violence like other countries who have been in deadlock of one or two weeks,” Hun Sen said as he took the helm of the new government.


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