Cambodian King to Preside over Inaugural Session of Senate

King Norodom Sihamoni stands in a photo session with newly elected members of the National Assembly on Aug. 21 after presiding over the inaugural meeting of the 7th legislature. Photo: Chhorn Sophat

PHNOM PENH -- Cambodian King Norodom Sihamoni will preside over the inaugural session of the Senate for the fifth legislature on Wednesday, said a statement released by the Senate's Secretariat on Monday.

After the inaugural session, the Senate will elect former Prime Minister Samdech Techo Hun Sen as the president of the Senate, according to an official schedule publicized with the statement.

The schedule added that all senators in the fifth legislature will take the oath of allegiance at the Royal Palace on Wednesday afternoon.

The Senate, or the upper house, has 62 seats, but the February election was held for 58 seats only, as two senators were appointed by the king and two others nominated by the National Assembly, or the lower house.

In the February vote, Hun Sen's ruling Cambodian People's Party (CPP) won 55 Senate seats and the opposition Khmer Will Party earned the remaining three seats.

Last month, the king named his half-sister and advisor Princess Norodom Arunrasmy and his cousin Prince Sisowath Thomico to the Senate, while the National Assembly elected two CPP members to fill vacant positions in the Senate.

The Senate was founded in 1999, with each mandate lasting for six years.

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