For fifteen years Prince Sihanouk and the Sangkum Reastr Niyum overshadowed Cambodian life. Because Sihanouk was removed from office by his own National Assembly in 1970, it is convenient, but misleading, to interpret this period in terms of his decline, a process that few observers noted at the time. Nonetheless, by 1966, Sihanouk had reached a turning point in his political career and his grip on the political process had begun to weaken, along with his self-confidence. These changes can be linked to the intensification of the Vietnam War as well as to indigenous political factors. In any case, the assembly elected in 1966, although allegedly made up of loyal Sangkum members, was the first since 1951 whose members the prince had not handpicked himself. In 1970 these were the people who voted Sihanouk out of office.