Executive

European Council’s President Herman Van Rompuy (center L) and his wife Geertrui Van Rompuy (L), Cambodia’s Prime Minister Hun Sen (center R) and his wife Bunrany Hun Sen (R) at the Peace Palace, Cambodia. Photo by President of the European Council, taken on  November 2, 2012. Licensed under Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 2.0 Generic

European Council’s President Herman Van Rompuy (center L) and his wife Geertrui Van Rompuy (L), Cambodia’s Prime Minister Hun Sen (center R) and his wife Bunrany Hun Sen (R) at the Peace Palace, Cambodia. Photo by President of the European Council, taken on November 2, 2012. Licensed under CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

The Royal Government of Cambodia (RGC) represents the executive wing of government. It is responsible for implementing laws and directing general affairs of the state in accordance with policy programs and state planning approved by parliament (the National Assembly and Senate).1 This structure of separate executive, legislative and judicial powers is set out in article 51 of the Constitution. 

The Council of Ministers is the key body in the Royal Government of Cambodia. Only the prime minister shall be a member of the National Assembly, while other members of the Council can be selected from among members of winning political parties who are not members of the Assembly.2 Considered as members of the Council of Ministers are any senior government officials with a rank of secretary of state and up, namely minister, senior minister, deputy minister and prime minister.3

The members of the Council of Ministers and the prime minister are collectively responsible for general policy and the government’s performance before the National Assembly.4 The president, members or special commissions of the National Assembly may question any member of the Council of Ministers or the prime minister by a written letter. A response can be verbal or written, and must be made within 7 days of receipt of the letter.5 A motion of censure may be initiated by 30 members of the National Assembly and shall be adopted by an absolute majority vote of all the National Assembly members, leading to a dismissal of a particular member or the entire Council of Ministers.6

The prime minister directs all the Council’s work, manages and orders any activity of the Council in any sector.7 Except for heads of the state institutions, any member of the Council of Ministers is normally assigned tasks and responsibilities by a decision of the prime minister.8 ‘Heads of the institutions’ refers to any member of the Council who leads and manages ministries or secretariats of state.9

All general affairs of the executive are decided by a meeting of the Council of Ministers in a full session.10 Other meetings of the Council, inter-ministerial or reviewing meetings, are not required to have the chairmanship of the prime minister and so can be led by a deputy prime minister, but cannot decide any affair on behalf of the Council.11 Convened by the prime minister, the Council of Ministers meets every week and minutes of the meetings are submitted to His Majesty the King of Cambodia, the head of state.12 Under the leadership of the minister and some secretaries of state, the Office of the Council of Ministers is responsible for assisting meetings and other general affairs of the Council.

Currently, the Royal Government of Cambodia is serving in the fifth mandate from 2013 to 2018. Despite a controversial result in the 2013 national election and a boycott by opposition party members from participating in the preliminary session of the National Assembly in the fifth legislature, the new government was sworn in by the king in September 2013.13 The new government laid down the political platform used to guide directions of the administration, prioritized sectors and means of the national policies’ implementation before the National Assembly, the representative body of Cambodian citizens.14 In the early years of the fifth mandate, some institutional and legal reforms were made by both national government and provincial and local governments.   

The number of special commissions of the National Assembly was increased from 9 to 10, and each the two main political parties with representatives in the National Assembly, the Cambodian People’s Party (CPP) and the Cambodia National Rescue Party (CNRP), chairs 5 special commissions.15 Also, a leader of the deputy groups from small parties, which possess at least 25 percent of the total 123 seats, is eligible to be the minority leader with a rank of the prime minister, a dialogue partner with the ruling party.16 The Constitution was amended to add a new chapter on the election overseeing body17 by paving the way for the Law on Organization and Functioning of the National Election Committee.18 The new Law on Election of the National Assembly Members was promulgated to replace the old law dating from 1997.19

At the sub-national level, administration at the municipality, province, city, district and commune/sangkat level will get more autonomy from the government and the government ministries and national bodies. It means that decentralization and deconcentration under the Law on Administration of the Commune/Sangkat and Law on Administration of Municipality, Province, City and District will be extended. However, Article 28 of the Law on Organization and Functioning of the Council of Ministers remains pending since it needs the government’s sub-decree on a delegation of power to the local administration.20

Related to executive

 Last updated: 29 September 2015

References

  • 1. Law on Organization and Functioning of the Council of Ministers (1994 as amended in 2013), article 1 and article 3.
  • 2. Law on Organization and Functioning of the Council of Ministers (1994 as amended in 2013), article 1 and article 5. Download at National Assembly. “List of Laws: Laws in the 1st Legislature.” Accessed on August 25, 2015, http://www.national-assembly.org.kh/ViewLawFile.aspx?LawDID=198
  • 3. Ibid, article 4.
  • 4. Ibid, article 8.
  • 5. Constitution, article 96 and article 97. http://www.ccc.gov.kh/english/basic_text/Constitution%20of%20the%20Kingdom%20of%20Cambodia.pdf accessed 29 September 2015.
  • 6. Ibid, article 98 new.
  • 7. Ibid, article 9.
  • 8. Ibid, article 19 and article 20.
  • 9. Ibid, article 21 and article 22.
  • 10. Ibid, article 10.
  • 11. Ibid, article 11.
  • 12. Constitution, article 123 new.
  • 13. Royal Decree No. NS/RKM/0913/903 dated on September 24, 2013.
  • 14. For a summary of a speech by Cambodia’s Prime Minister Hun Sen on the political platform of the fifth legislature, see Cambodia New Vision. “First session of the National Assembly.” Cabinet of Samdech Akka Moha Sena Padei Hun Sen: Issue No. 186, September 2013. Accessed on August 26, 2015, http://cnv.org.kh/wp-content/uploads/2013/12/cnv_186_sep_13.pdf
  • 15. Internal Rule of the National Assembly in the Fifth Legislature, article 6 new (two). Download at National Assembly. “List of Laws: Laws in the 5th Legislature.” Accessed on August 26, 2015, http://www.national-assembly.org.kh/ViewLawFile.aspx?LawDID=461
  • 16. Internal Rule of the National Assembly in the Fifth Legislature, article 48 new (three). Download at National Assembly. “List of Laws: Laws in the 5th Legislature.” Accessed on August 26, 2015, http://www.national-assembly.org.kh/ViewLawFile.aspx?LawDID=468
  • 17. Constitutional Law on Amendments of Article 76 and Any Article of Chapter 15 new till Chapter 16 new of the Constitution of Cambodia, promulgated by Royal Kram No. NS/RKM/1014/022 dated October 23, 2014. Download at National Assembly. “List of Laws: Laws in the 5th Legislature.” Accessed on August 26, 2015, http://www.national-assembly.org.kh/ViewLawFile.aspx?LawDID=462
  • 18. Law on Organization and Functioning of the National Election Committee, promulgated by Royal Kram No. NS/RKM/0315/002 dated on March 26, 2015. Download at National Assembly. “List of Laws: Laws in the 5th Legislature.” Accessed on August 26, 2015, http://www.national-assembly.org.kh/ViewLawFile.aspx?LawDID=481
  • 19. Law on Election of the National Assembly Members, promulgated by Royal Kram No. NS/RKM/0315/003 dated on March 26, 2015 . Download at National Assembly. “List of Laws: Laws in the 5th Legislature.” Accessed on August 26, 2015, http://www.national-assembly.org.kh/ViewLawFile.aspx?LawDID=482
  • 20. Law on Organization and Functioning of the Council of Ministers, promulgated by Royal Kram No. NS/RKM/0613/012 dated on June 20, 2013. Download at National Assembly. “List of Laws: Laws in the 4th Legislature.” Accessed on August 26, 2015, http://www.national-assembly.org.kh/ViewLawFile.aspx?LawDID=427
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