King Norodom Sihamoni Appoints Senior Royal Family Members as Senators

HRH Norodom Arunrasmy attends the 2021 Asian World Film Festival: Closing Night Gala at Saban Theatre on November 11, 2021 in Beverly Hills, California. Photo by JC Olivera/Getty Images/AFP

PHNOM PENH — King Norodom Sihamoni has appointed senior members of the royal family to serve as members of the Senate for the next six years.

In a royal decree dated March 6, King Sihamoni appointed Princess Norodom Arun Rasmey, his half-sister, and Prince Sisowath Thomico to serve as senators during the fifth mandate of the legislature, completing the upper chamber of the country’s parliament, which consists of 64 members.

By law, King Sihamoni can appoint two members of the Senate.

The National Assembly, which also can appoint two members, voted to appoint Heng Halim and Sok Eysan to the Senate during a vote on March 1.

The ruling Cambodian People’s Party (CPP) overwhelmingly won the Senate election held 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 seat.

The victory put Hun Sen—former prime minister and currently CPP’s president as well as a parliamentarian—in the spotlight again.

He has announced that he will serve as the Senate president, replacing incumbent Say Chhum who is set to retire. The position will make Hun Sen the acting head of state when King Sihamoni—who is the actual head of state—is absent. This position in the Senate includes the constitutional power of promulgating laws.

The new senators are expected to take office in April 2024.

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