Short for KH by Abbreviationfinder, Cambodia is a kingdom with a parliamentary multi-party system and market economy. Regular elections are held but the democratic shortcomings are large and the country is completely dominated by the CPP government party, which is the heir to the old Communist Party. Prime Minister Hun Sen has been head of government since 1985.
According to the 1993 constitution, the king is head of state and commander-in-chief, but the king’s office is now primarily a symbol of unity. The reverence for the king is great, although his political power is limited. The king’s power is not inherited, but within seven days after the king’s death, the throne council is appointed by the throne council, which consists of nine political and religious leaders. A new king must come from one of the three branches of the great royal family.
- Countryaah: Total population and chart of Cambodia for years of 2020, 2021, 2022, 2023 and 2024. Also covers population density, birth rate, death rate and population growth rates.
King Norodom Sihamoni took office in 2004 since his father Norodom Sihanouk abdicated at the age of 81. Sihanouk, who died in 2012, was a central figure in Cambodia’s history for over 60 years (see Older history and Modern history). Sihamoni, who previously was a ballet dancer and Cambodia’s ambassador to the UN agency Unesco in Paris, lacked political experience at the turn of the faith but was Sihanouk’s favorite as a successor.
The executive power is exercised by the government under the leadership of the prime minister. He is appointed by the King on the advice of the President of the National Assembly and is to belong to the largest political party. The prime minister then appoints other ministers.
The laws are passed by Parliament which has two chambers, the National Assembly and the Senate. The National Assembly consists of 125 members (expanded by two members in March 2018) who are elected in general elections every five years. Since 2006, the government needs the support of at least half of the members of the National Assembly. In the past, a two-thirds majority applied.
The Senate has 62 members. All but four senators are elected every six years by the country’s municipal councilors and the members of the national assembly. Two senators are elected by the King and two by majority vote in the National Assembly. The Senate has the task of reviewing the laws passed by the National Assembly, but the Senate cannot stop the National Assembly’s bill.
Cambodia is divided into 24 provinces (since 2014) and the metropolitan area of Phnom Penh. The provinces are governed by governors appointed by the government.
The judiciary consists of three bodies: provincial courts, an appellate court and a supreme court. In addition, there is a military court as well as the Constitutional Council, whose task is to review new laws so that they are compatible with the Constitution. Of the nine members of the Council, three are appointed by the King, three by Parliament and three by a group of judges.
The dominant political party is the Cambodian People’s Party (CPP). It is a transformation of the revolutionary party of the Communist Kampuchean people (Kanakpak Pracheachon Prachor) who ruled the country unequivocally from 1979 to 1993 with Vietnamese support. CPP, which now has market-economy ideals, is led by Prime Minister Hun Sen. It has become the largest party in all elections after democratization in 1993, and in practice controls both the administration and the armed forces.
Any real opposition to the CPP does not exist after the Supreme Court in November 2017 decided to dissolve the main opposition party, the Cambodian National Rescue Party (Cambodia National Rescue Party, CNRP). It happened after Hun Sen accused CNRP of cooperating with the United States to overthrow the government. The CNRP lost its seats in Parliament and more than 100 CNRP politicians were deprived of their right to work politically for the next five years. The party was formed in 2012 through a merger of the opposition Sam Rainsy Party (Sam Rainsy Party, SRP) and the Party for Human Rights (Human Rights Party, HRP). The CNRP was led by Sam Rainsy until February 2017, when a new law was passed banning people convicted of crimes from leading political parties. Rainsy lives in exile to avoid a five-year prison sentence he was sentenced in December 2016. Kem Sokha, who formed HRP in 2007, then led CNRP until the party dissolved. Kem Sokha is charged with treason and risks being sentenced to 30 years in prison.
Sam Rainsy has long been Cambodia’s leading opposition politician. For long periods he has lived in self-imposed exile abroad to escape prosecution. His former party SRP mainly won support through a tough attitude against the corruption in the administration. In January 2018 he formed and other exiled Cambodians Cambodia’s movement for national salvation (Cambodia’s National Rescue Movement, CNRM) in the United States. Its purpose was to coordinate the peaceful opposition to the CPP government and fight to get the detained Kem Sokha released.
Remaining alongside CPP are a number of small and relatively insignificant parties. The CPP has long ruled with Funcinpec, or the United National Front, for an independent, neutral, peaceful and cooperative Cambodia (Front Uni National pour un Cambodge Indépendent, Neutre, Pacifique, et Coopératif). Funcinpec was founded by King Sihanouk as a royalist resistance movement against the Vietnam-backed regime in the 1980s. The party became the largest in Parliament in the 1993 elections, but has since lost in popularity as a result of corruption charges, internal strife and the constant co-government with the CPP. After the 2013 election, Funcinpec has no seat in parliament.
Funcinpec was long led by Prince Norodom Ranariddh, son of Sihanouk and half-brother of King Sihamoni. However, he was dismissed from the party leader post in 2006 and then founded the Norodom Ranariddh Party (Norodom Ranariddh Party, NRP). The following year, he was sentenced in his absence to 18 months in prison for fraud against Funcinpec, but was pardoned in 2008 by King Sihamoni and returned to Cambodia. Ranariddh announced in 2012 that he would leave the policy, whereupon the NRP was converted to the Nationalist Party (Nationalist Party, NP) which in 2014 announced its intention to dissolve and join the CNRP.