King Norodom Sihamoni praised Cambodia’s government in a written statement that was read aloud by National Assembly President Heng Samrin on Monday.
“I would like to congratulate the government, which always adheres to national solidarity principles to stand together with all Cambodians domestically and abroad . . . in order to protect the nation, social achievements, and to ensure national unity, sovereignty, integrity, peace, democracy and prosperity,” reads the statement, which was signed by the King.
The statement goes on to praise Prime Minister Hun Sen for “leading the Cambodian government to successfully expand efforts to solve all challenges in the country wisely”.
King Sihamoni returned later in the day from a visit to Japan, where he was celebrating International Buddhist Day.
The last year has seen the dissolution of the main opposition political party, the arrest on “treason” charges of its leader Kem Sokha and the shuttering of independent newspapers and radio outlets, as well as heightened scrutiny of civil society organisations.
A new lèse majesté law banning insults to the King went into effect in March. The law carries a sentence of one to five years in prison for individuals, while institutions found to be in violation may be shut down. No individual or institution has yet been charged, and it remains unclear how the law will be interpreted.