Politics in Cambodia

 

Until
the 1970s, which a coup ended, a monarchy had ruled
Cambodia since ancient times.  In 1975 when the Khmer
Rouge took over Cambodia, the country was renamed
Democratic Kampochea (DK). The Khmer Rouge is also
responsible for starting a war with Vietnam in 1977.

 
The Khmer Rouge was overthrown in 1979 by a group of
Cambodian Communist Rebels, backed by 100,000 Vietnamese
troops, who again changed the country’s name.  This
time when they renamed it to the People’s Republic of
Kampochea (PRK), not many foreign governments recognized
the government, thus allowing the DK to keep its place in
the United Nations.

During
the 1980s Vietnam had troops stationed in Cambodia and
during this period the only legal political party was the
Kampochean People’s Revolutionary Party (KPRP) and ran the
PRK under socialist guidelines.  When Vietnam
withdrew in 1989, Cambodia’s name changed to the State of
Cambodia (SOC) and they changed from socialism to
free-market. 

With
the help of the United Nations, internal conflict within
Cambodia was resolved with a peace accord which was signed
in Paris in 1991.  A UN protectorate was to help rule
Cambodia until national elections were held in 1993.

When
the elections were held, 20 political parties participated
with two parties winning the majority of seats, FUNCINPEC
and CPP (Cambodian People’s Party, formerly known as KPRP).

Two
prime ministers headed the government; Prince Norodom
Ranariddh of FUNCINPEC was the first prime minister with
Hun Sen of the CPP being the second prime minister. 
In September of 1993, a constitution was written up that
restored the monarchy and established the Kingdom of
Cambodia.

Links
to other websites…

Cambodia is a member of the
United Nations, the World Bank and the International
Monetary Fund. It is an Asian Development Bank (ADB)
member, a member of ASEAN, and joined the WTO on October
13, 2004. In 2005 Cambodia attended the inaugural East
Asia Summit.

Cambodia has established
diplomatic relations with numerous countries; the
government reports twenty embassies in the country
including many of its Asian neighbours and those of
important players during the Paris peace negotiations,
including the US, Australia, Canada, China, the European
Union (EU), Japan, and Russia. As a result of its
international relations, various charitable organizations
have assisted with both social and civil infrastructure
needs.

While the violent ruptures
of the 1970s and 80s have passed, several border disputes
between Cambodia and its neighbours persist. There are
disagreements over some offshore islands and sections of
the boundary with Vietnam, and undefined maritime
boundaries and border areas with Thailand.

Preah Vihear temple is
one of the main factors of the current Cambodia-Thai
dispute

In January 2003, there were
anti-Thai riots in Phnom Penh prompted by rumoured
comments about Angkor Wat allegedly made by a Thai actress
and printed in Reaksmei Angkor, a Cambodian
newspaper, and later quoted by Prime Minister Hun Sen.The
Thai government sent military aircraft to evacuate Thai
nationals and closed its border with Cambodia to Thais and
Cambodians (at no time was the border ever closed to
foreigners or Western tourists) while Thais demonstrated
outside the Cambodian embassy in Bangkok. The border was
re-opened on March 21, after the Cambodian government paid
$6 million USD in compensation for the destruction of the
Thai embassy and agreed to compensate individual Thai
businesses for their losses. The “comments” that
had sparked the riots turned out to have never been made.
More problems came between Cambodia and Thailand in mid
2008 when Cambodia wanted to list Prasat Preah Vihear as a
UNESCO World heritage site, which later resulted in a
stand-off in which both countries deployed their soldiers
near the border and around the disputed territory between
the two countries. Conflict restarted in April 2009, where
2 Thai soldiers died as a result of a recent clash.

The politics of Cambodia
formally take place, according to the nation’s
constitution of 1993, in the framework of a constitutional
monarchy operated as a parliamentary representative
democracy. The Prime Minister of Cambodia is the head of
government, and of a pluriform multi-party system, while
the king is the head of state.

The Prime Minister is
appointed by the King, on the advice and with the approval
of the National Assembly; the Prime Minister and his or
her ministerial appointees exercise executive power in
government. Legislative power is vested in both the
executive and the two chambers of parliament, the National
Assembly of Cambodia and the Senate.

On October 14, 2004, King
Norodom Sihamoni was selected by a special nine-member
throne council, part of a selection process that was
quickly put in place after the surprise abdication of King
Norodom Sihanouk a week before. Sihamoni’s selection was
endorsed by Prime Minister Hun Sen and National Assembly
Speaker Prince Norodom Ranariddh (the king’s half brother
and current chief advisor), both members of the throne
council. He was enthroned in Phnom Penh on October 29,
2004.

Armed
forces


Main article: Royal
Cambodian Armed Forces

The Royal Cambodian Armed
Forces consists of the Royal Cambodian Army, the Royal
Cambodian Navy, and the Royal Cambodian Air Force. The
king is the Supreme Commander of the Royal Cambodian Armed
Forces (RCAF) and the country’s prime minister effectively
holds the position of commander-in-chief. The introduction
of a revised command structure early in 2000 was a key
prelude to the reorganisation of the RCAF. This saw the
ministry of national defence form three subordinate
general departments responsible for logistics and finance,
materials and technical services, and defence services.
The High Command Headquarters (HCHQ) was left unchanged,
but the general staff was dismantled and the former will
assume responsibility over three autonomous infantry
divisions. A joint staff was also formed, responsible for
inter-service co-ordination and staff management within
HCHQ.

The minister of National
Defence is General Tea Banh. Banh has served as defence
minister since 1979. The Secretaries of State for Defence
are Chay Saing Yun and Por Bun Sreu. In January 2009,
General Ke Kim Yan was removed from his post as
Commander-in-Chief of the RCAF and was replaced by his
deputy, Gen. Pol Saroeun, the new Commander-in-Chief of
the RCAF, who is a long time loyalist of Prime Minister
Hun Sen. There were rumours that Prime Minister Hun Sen
had plans to remove Ke Kim Yan from commander of RCAF
because of an internal dispute in the CPP. Days later
after the news broke out that Yan was being removed,
members of the CPP Party said it was a regular reshuffle
of the Kingdom’s military leadership and that there are no
internal problems within the CPP party. It is expected
that Ke Kim Yan will be promoted to Deputy Prime Minister
by Hun Sen and will be in charge of anti-drugs
trafficking. The Army Commander is General Meas Sophea and
the Army Chief of Staff is Chea Saran.









































Country
name
:


conventional
long form: Kingdom
of Cambodia


conventional
short form: Cambodia


local
long form: Preahreacheanachakr
Kampuchea (phonetic pronunciation)


local
short form: Kampuchea


former:
Khmer
Republic, Democratic Kampuchea, People’s Republic
of Kampuchea, State of Cambodia



Government
type
:


multiparty
democracy under a constitutional monarchy



Capital:


name: Phnom
Penh


geographic
coordinates: 11
33 N, 104 55 E


time
difference: UTC+7
(12 hours ahead of Washington, DC during Standard
Time)



Administrative
divisions
:


23
provinces (khett, singular and plural) and 1
municipality (krong, singular and plural)


provinces:
Banteay
Mean Choay, Batdambang, Kampong Cham, Kampong
Chhnang, Kampong Spoe, Kampong Thum, Kampot,
Kandal, Kaoh Kong, Keb, Krachen, Mondol Kiri,
Otdar Mean Choay, Pailin, Pouthisat, Preah Seihanu
(Sihanoukville), Preah Vihear, Prey Veng,
Rotanokiri, Siem Reab, Stoeng Treng, Svay Rieng,
Takev


municipalities:
Phnum
Penh (Phnom Penh)



Independence:


9
November 1953 (from France)



National
holiday
:


Independence
Day, 9 November (1953)



Constitution:


promulgated
21 September 1993



Legal
system
:


civil
law system (influenced by the UN Transitional
Authority in Cambodia) customary law, Communist
legal theory, and common law



International
law organization participation
:


accepts
compulsory ICJ jurisdiction with reservations;
accepts ICCt jurisdiction



Suffrage:


18
years of age; universal



Executive
branch
:


chief
of state: King
Norodom SIHAMONI (since 29 October 2004)


head
of government: Prime
Minister HUN SEN (since 14 January 1985) [co-prime
minister from 1993 to 1997]; Permanent Deputy
Prime Minister MEN SAM AN (since 25 September
2008); Deputy Prime Ministers SAR KHENG (since 3
February 1992); SOK AN, TEA BANH, HOR NAMHONG,
NHEK BUNCHHAY (since 16 July 2004); BIN CHHIN
(since 5 September 2007); KEAT CHHON, YIM CHHAI LY
(since 24 September 2008); KE KIMYAN (since 12
March 2009)


cabinet:
Council
of Ministers named by the prime minister and
appointed by the monarch


(For
more information visit the World Leaders website 


elections:
the
king chosen by a Royal Throne Council from among
all eligible males of royal descent; following
legislative elections, a member of the majority
party or majority coalition named prime minister
by the Chairman of the National Assembly and
appointed by the king



Legislative
branch
:


bicameral,
consists of the Senate (61 seats; 2 members
appointed by the monarch, 2 elected by the
National Assembly, and 57 elected by
parliamentarians and commune councils; members
serve five-year terms) and the National Assembly
(123 seats; members elected by popular vote to
serve five-year terms)


elections: Senate
– last held on 22 January 2006 (next to be held in
January 2012); National Assembly – last held on 27
July 2008 (next to be held in July 2013)


election
results: Senate
– percent of vote by party – CPP 69%, FUNCINPEC
21%, SRP 10%; seats by party – CPP 45, FUNCINPEC
10, SRP 2; National Assembly – percent of vote by
party – CPP 58%, SRP 22%, HRP 7%; NRP 6%;
FUNCINPEC 5%; others 2%; seats by party – CPP 90,
SRP 26, HRP 3, FUNCINPEC 2, NRP 2



Judicial
branch
:


Supreme Council
of the Magistracy (provided for in the
constitution and formed in December 1997); Supreme
Court (and lower courts) exercises judicial
authority



Political
parties and leaders
:


Cambodian
People’s Party or CPP [CHEA SIM]; Human Rights
Party or HRP [KHEM SOKHA, also spelled KEM SOKHA];
National United Front for an Independent, Neutral,
Peaceful, and Cooperative Cambodia or FUNCINPEC [KEV
PUT REAKSMEI]; Nationalist Party or NP [CHHIM SEAK
LENG] (formerly the NRP); Sam Rangsi Party or SRP
[SAM RANGSI, also spelled SAM RAINSY]



Political
pressure groups and leaders
:


Cambodian
Freedom Fighters or CFF; Partnership for
Transparency Fund or PTF (anti-corruption
organization); Students Movement for Democracy;
The Committee for Free and Fair Elections or
Comfrel


other: human
rights organizations; vendors



International
organization participation
:


ADB, ARF, ASEAN,
CICA (observer), EAS, FAO, G-77, IBRD, ICAO, ICRM,
IDA, IFAD, IFC, IFRCS, ILO, IMF, IMO, Interpol,
IOC, IOM, IPU, ISO (subscriber), ITU, MIGA, NAM,
OIF, OPCW, PCA, UN, UNCTAD, UNESCO, UNIDO, UNIFIL,
UNMIS, UNWTO, UPU, WCO, WFTU, WHO, WIPO, WMO, WTO



Diplomatic
representation in the US
:


chief of
mission: Ambassador
HENG HEM


chancery: 4530
16th Street NW, Washington, DC 20011


telephone: [1]
(202) 726-7742


FAX: [1]
(202) 726-8381



Diplomatic
representation from the US
:


chief of
mission: Ambassador
Carol A. RODLEY


embassy: #1,
Street 96, Sangkat Wat Phnom, Khan Daun Penh,
Phnom Penh


mailing
address: Box
P, APO AP 96546


telephone: [855]
(23) 728-000


FAX: [855]
(23) 728-600



Flag
description:


three
horizontal bands of blue (top), red (double
width), and blue with a white three-towered temple
representing Angkor Wat outlined in black in the
center of the red band; red and blue are
traditional Cambodian colors


note: only
national flag to incorporate an actual building in
its design



National
anthem:


name: “Nokoreach”
(Royal Kingdom)


lyrics/music: CHUON
NAT/F. PERRUCHOT and J. JEKYLL


note: adopted
1941, restored 1993; the anthem, based on a
Cambodian folk tune, was restored after the defeat
of the Communist regime

 

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