Ex-PM Hun Sen Sweeps Board in Senate President Vote

Former Prime Minister Hun Sen has been unanimously elected Senate president. Photo: Samdech Hun Sen of Cambodia

PHNOM PENH – Former Prime Minister Hun Sen has been unanimously elected Senate president.

Ex-foreign minister Prak Sokhonn and former senior minister in charge of special mission Ouch Borith became the first and second vice presidents respectively, also by unanimous votes.

The Senate held its first session of the 5th legislature on April 3, to select the heads of the institution. King Norodom Sihamoni presided over the session which was led by Cambodian People’s Party spokesman Sok Eysan as interim speaker.   

Hun Sen received 62 out of 62 votes cast to chair the Senate, replacing incumbent Say Chhum who has been appointed personal advisor to the King with a rank equal to prime minister.

The votes for the president and vice presidents were carried out separately. Prak Sokhonn and Ouch  Borith took over from Sim Ka and Tep Ngorn who have been appointed personal advisors to the King with equal rank to deputy prime minister.

The Senate has 62 seats, including two senators appointed by the King and two others by the National Assembly.

The senators appointed by the King are Princess Norodom Arunrasmy and Prince Sisowath Thomico, and the other two are Sok Eysan and Heng Halim. 

The ruling Cambodian People’s Party overwhelmingly won the Senate election in February, obtaining 55 seats. The Khmer Will Party, which is affiliated with the opposition Candlelight Party, won three seats. The royalist FUNCINPEC Party and the Nation Power Party did not win any seats.

62 senate members posed in front the senate after the first session. Photo_ Samdech Hun Sen of Cambodia

The former PM Hun Sen, also head of the Supreme Privy Council with equal rank to the prime minister, said he aimed to embrace parliament diplomacy as the priority of the work. 

He said that amid the global tension of strategic competition between the superpowers and security threats, Cambodia aims to strengthen the partnerships, active international engagement and solutions for global issues. 

He also pledged to work closely with the commune/sangkat councils representing local people to ensure that every citizen lives with dignity freedom and rights as stated in the Constitution.

“As the president, I would like to reaffirm my commitment​​ to lead the institution and work with the National Assembly and the government,” he said. “I will work responsibly to serve the nation and the people.”

The King said the Senate must enhance the state power balance and safeguard peace, independence, sovereignty, territorial integrity, and political stability.

It must also protect the Constitution and monarchy, promote national unity, and protect national achievements for stability.

“The 5th Legislature must keep contributing more actively to the accumulation of democracy, and socialization at national and local levels,” he said.

“The Senate must protect the public interest and social justice for social equity, respect for the rights, freedoms, beliefs and dignity of everyone, and improve the quality of life by ensuring long-term happiness and harmony within the family, the community and our society as a whole.”

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