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Government of Cambodia

Cambodia King and Government

Cambodia is a multi party democracy with a constitutional monarchy. The King is the head of state while the Prime Minister is the head of government with executive power. The executive branch and the two chambers of parliament, the National Assembly and the Senate, hold legislative power.

King Sihamoni

The current King is King Norodom Sihamoni, who was speedily elected to the throne in October 2004 by a special council of advisers, after the surprise abdication of his father, King Norodom Sihanouk, a week before. The appointment of a relative unknown has renewed belief in the monarchy as he is not influenced by past politics.

King Sihamoni was trained as a classical Cambodian dancer and before his appointment to the throne, was a cultural ambassador to Europe. He spent most of his life outside of Cambodia and grew up in Prague but returned to Cambodia in 1977 where he was placed under house arrest by the Khmer Rouge. He left for France in 1981 to teach ballet and was later President of the Khmer Dance Association, living in France for nearly 20 years. He is multi-lingual and speaks Czech, French, English and Russian.

Political Structure

The King is the Supreme Commander of the Royal Cambodian Armed Forces and the Prime Minister is the commander in chief. Hun Sen still remains the Prime Minister, a post he has held since 1985. The Ministries are controlled by the two ruling parties with the CCP controlling 12 and the Funcinpec, the political arm of the royal family, 11. They jointly run the Ministries of Defence and the Interior.

Each of Cambodia’s 20 provinces has a governor. The smallest administrative units are the villages (phum) which are grouped into communes (khum) which in turn are ordered into districts (arok) and then the provinces. Areas such as Phnom Penh, Sihanoukville, Kep and Pailin are conferred provincial government status.