Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Royal responsibilities

Royal responsibilities

Royal responsibilities

Departing King Norodom Sihanouk was fond of pointing out that under the constitution

"the king of Cambodia shall reign but not govern". But what does the king

actually do?

Aside from the general regal role of providing a "symbol of unity and eternity

of the nation" there are several specific duties the incoming Norodom Sihamoni

will be expected to perform. While some are rubber stamp jobs, taken as a whole the

king plays a fundamental and potentially powerful role in Cambodia.

The king signs decrees (kret) presented by the Council of Ministers to appoint high-ranking

civil and military officials, ambassadors and other diplomatic positions.

He is Supreme Commander of the Royal Cambodian Armed Forces, who appoints the commander-in-chief.

This role includes the awarding of military ranks and medals.

The Supreme Council for National Defense has never been set up, but if it is, the

king will be the chairperson and have the power to declare war after the approval

of the National Assembly and Senate.

As chair of the Supreme Council of Magistracy, it's the king's duty to guarantee

the independence of the judiciary and therefore the rights of his people. He can

sign decrees (kret) presented by the Supreme Council of Magistracy to appoint, transfer

or remove judges.

He signs laws (kram) presented to him by the National Assembly and Senate.

The king should grant an audience twice a month to the Prime Minister and the Council

of Ministers to hear reports on the state of the nation. This did not occur under

Sihanouk.

He may grant full or partial amnesties.

The king should be the chair of the National Congress, an annual town hall-style

meeting to be held in early December each year. All citizens should be welcome to

"be directly informed" and "raise issues and requests for the state

authorities to solve". To date, it has never been convened by the Prime Minister.

The king can communicate with his people by issuing royal messages, such as those

seen on Sihanouk's website.

Sources: The 1993 Constitution of the Kingdom of Cambodia (unofficial translation

published by the United Nations in 2002), Lao Mong Hay, head of legal unit at the

Center for Social Development

MOST VIEWED

  • Hun Sen: Full country reopening to be decided in two weeks

    Prime Minister Hun Sen has announced that if the Covid-19 situation remains stable for 15 consecutive days from the end of the October 5-7 Pchum Ben public holiday, Cambodia will reopen fully, albeit in the context of Covid-19 whereby people have to adjust their lives to

  • Cambodia sets new Covid-19 quarantine rules

    The government has modified Covid-19 quarantine requirements, shortening the duration for, among others, Cambodian officials, foreign diplomats and delegations, investors and inbound travellers in general. According to an official notice signed by Minister of Health Mam Bun Heng late on October 16, quarantine length for Cambodian

  • Will Evergrande change the way Chinese developers do business in Cambodia?

    China’s property sector policy has exposed the grim financial condition of real estate developers including those operating in Cambodia, which raises questions over the viability of their projects and business going forward The dark blue netting draping over one of Yuetai Group Co Ltd’

  • Phnom Penh governor: Show Covid-19 vaccination cards, or else

    Phnom Penh municipal governor Khuong Sreng late on October 5 issued a directive requiring all people aged 18 and over and the parents of children aged 6-17 to produce Covid-19 vaccination cards when entering schools, markets, malls, marts, eateries and other business establishments that have been permitted

  • Cambodia seeks probe into 'false reports' on Hun Sen's alleged Cypriot passport

    Minister of Justice Koeut Rith on September 6 wrote a letter to his Cypriot counterpart Stephie Dracos requesting cooperation in investigating and providing the truth in relation to the "exaggerative and false allegations" that Prime Minister Hun Sen holds a Cypriot passport. In his letter, the

  • 'Pandora Papers' expose leaders' offshore millions

    More than a dozen heads of state and government, from Jordan to Azerbaijan, Kenya and the Czech Republic, have used offshore tax havens to hide assets worth hundreds of millions of dollars, according to a far-reaching new investigation by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (