The Cambodian Senate

National Assembly, with the NagaWorld complex ...

National Parliament Building/Image via Wikipedia

The Cambodian Senate was established in 2000. At that time, 61 Members of the Senate were appointed by the King and the political parties having seats in the parliament. Since its’ establishment, the President of the Senate is given to Chea Sim, President of the ruling Cambodian People’s Party. It was a product of the political deals between the CPP and Funcinpec after 1998 national elections to give the Presidency of the Parliament to Prince Ranariddh, which was occupied by Chea Sim and to create an institution to be headed by Chea Sim. Senate was the perfect solution. Some observers said that it is more or less like “a crematorium to bury the elephants”. In fact, unlike the powerful Senate in the United States, our Senate is merely a “rubber stamp of the Parliament” and performs some ceremonial roles of the state.

The first indirect election was conducted in 2006. The composition of the Senate members is as follows:

  • 2 Members are appointed directly by the King
  • 2 Members are appointed directly by the National Assembly
  • 57 Members are elected by the commune council members and lawmakers

On 29 January, 2012, there will be election again to choose 57 members. Eligible voters are 123 Members of Parliament and 11,352 commune council members from four political parties: the Cambodian People’s Party, the Sam Rainsy Party, Funcinpec, Norodom Ranaridh Party. Changes in the political makeup of the 2007 commune councils’ election will enable the Sam Rainsy to get more seats for the party. Currently, it has 2 members. Based on the party’s calculation, it will get at least 11 seats in 2012. We hope that in the future, our Senate will fulfill its true duty defined in the Constitution to serve democratic development in Cambodia.

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