The return of Prince Norodom Ranariddh to Phnom Penh may inspire Cambodians to hope that the approaching election will bring some stability back to the war-ravaged country, but the chances are probably remote. The tattered remnants of his forces are still fighting on the Thai border, and unless a ceasefire can be arranged, Prince Ranariddh, who was ousted as first prime minister nine months ago, will not even be able to take part. The prince's Funcinpec party is shattered and in disarray. More than 40 of its officials have mysteriously perished since last year's coup. Prince Ranariddh is only in the country thanks to a Japanese brokered peace plan, and this initial visit will last no longer than four days. He admitted on arrival that he felt 'apprehensive' at his return. He has good reason to be, after he was convicted of arms smuggling and collusion, and condemned to death in a court controlled by his rival, second prime minister Hun Sen. Mr Hun Sen is in full control of the country, and corruption has reached epidemic proportions. The economic decline continues, following the cutback in foreign aid. Illicit logging is reported to be continuing on a massive scale, much of it by Khmer Rouge defectors, to raise money to help fund the election campaign for Mr Hun Sen's Cambodian's People Party.