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Until the 1970s, which a coup ended, a monarchy had ruled Cambodia since ancient times.  In 1975 when the Khmer Rouge took over Cambodia, the country was renamed Democratic Kampochea (DK). The Khmer Rouge is also responsible for starting a war with Vietnam in 1977.

  The Khmer Rouge was overthrown in 1979 by a group of Cambodian Communist Rebels, backed by 100,000 Vietnamese troops, who again changed the country's name.  This time when they renamed it to the People's Republic of Kampochea (PRK), not many foreign governments recognized the government, thus allowing the DK to keep its place in the United Nations.

During the 1980s Vietnam had troops stationed in Cambodia and during this period the only legal political party was the Kampochean People's Revolutionary Party (KPRP) and ran the PRK under socialist guidelines.  When Vietnam withdrew in 1989, Cambodia's name changed to the State of Cambodia (SOC) and they changed from socialism to free-market. 

With the help of the United Nations, internal conflict within Cambodia was resolved with a peace accord which was signed in Paris in 1991.  A UN protectorate was to help rule Cambodia until national elections were held in 1993.

When the elections were held, 20 political parties participated with two parties winning the majority of seats, FUNCINPEC and CPP (Cambodian People's Party, formerly known as KPRP).

Two prime ministers headed the government; Prince Norodom Ranariddh of FUNCINPEC was the first prime minister with Hun Sen of the CPP being the second prime minister.  In September of 1993, a constitution was written up that restored the monarchy and established the Kingdom of Cambodia.

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Cambodia is a member of the United Nations, the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund. It is an Asian Development Bank (ADB) member, a member of ASEAN, and joined the WTO on October 13, 2004. In 2005 Cambodia attended the inaugural East Asia Summit.

Cambodia has established diplomatic relations with numerous countries; the government reports twenty embassies in the country including many of its Asian neighbours and those of important players during the Paris peace negotiations, including the US, Australia, Canada, China, the European Union (EU), Japan, and Russia. As a result of its international relations, various charitable organizations have assisted with both social and civil infrastructure needs.

While the violent ruptures of the 1970s and 80s have passed, several border disputes between Cambodia and its neighbours persist. There are disagreements over some offshore islands and sections of the boundary with Vietnam, and undefined maritime boundaries and border areas with Thailand.

Preah Vihear temple is one of the main factors of the current Cambodia-Thai dispute

In January 2003, there were anti-Thai riots in Phnom Penh prompted by rumoured comments about Angkor Wat allegedly made by a Thai actress and printed in Reaksmei Angkor, a Cambodian newspaper, and later quoted by Prime Minister Hun Sen.The Thai government sent military aircraft to evacuate Thai nationals and closed its border with Cambodia to Thais and Cambodians (at no time was the border ever closed to foreigners or Western tourists) while Thais demonstrated outside the Cambodian embassy in Bangkok. The border was re-opened on March 21, after the Cambodian government paid $6 million USD in compensation for the destruction of the Thai embassy and agreed to compensate individual Thai businesses for their losses. The "comments" that had sparked the riots turned out to have never been made. More problems came between Cambodia and Thailand in mid 2008 when Cambodia wanted to list Prasat Preah Vihear as a UNESCO World heritage site, which later resulted in a stand-off in which both countries deployed their soldiers near the border and around the disputed territory between the two countries. Conflict restarted in April 2009, where 2 Thai soldiers died as a result of a recent clash.

The politics of Cambodia formally take place, according to the nation's constitution of 1993, in the framework of a constitutional monarchy operated as a parliamentary representative democracy. The Prime Minister of Cambodia is the head of government, and of a pluriform multi-party system, while the king is the head of state.

The Prime Minister is appointed by the King, on the advice and with the approval of the National Assembly; the Prime Minister and his or her ministerial appointees exercise executive power in government. Legislative power is vested in both the executive and the two chambers of parliament, the National Assembly of Cambodia and the Senate.

On October 14, 2004, King Norodom Sihamoni was selected by a special nine-member throne council, part of a selection process that was quickly put in place after the surprise abdication of King Norodom Sihanouk a week before. Sihamoni's selection was endorsed by Prime Minister Hun Sen and National Assembly Speaker Prince Norodom Ranariddh (the king's half brother and current chief advisor), both members of the throne council. He was enthroned in Phnom Penh on October 29, 2004.

Armed forces

The Royal Cambodian Armed Forces consists of the Royal Cambodian Army, the Royal Cambodian Navy, and the Royal Cambodian Air Force. The king is the Supreme Commander of the Royal Cambodian Armed Forces (RCAF) and the country's prime minister effectively holds the position of commander-in-chief. The introduction of a revised command structure early in 2000 was a key prelude to the reorganisation of the RCAF. This saw the ministry of national defence form three subordinate general departments responsible for logistics and finance, materials and technical services, and defence services. The High Command Headquarters (HCHQ) was left unchanged, but the general staff was dismantled and the former will assume responsibility over three autonomous infantry divisions. A joint staff was also formed, responsible for inter-service co-ordination and staff management within HCHQ.

The minister of National Defence is General Tea Banh. Banh has served as defence minister since 1979. The Secretaries of State for Defence are Chay Saing Yun and Por Bun Sreu. In January 2009, General Ke Kim Yan was removed from his post as Commander-in-Chief of the RCAF and was replaced by his deputy, Gen. Pol Saroeun, the new Commander-in-Chief of the RCAF, who is a long time loyalist of Prime Minister Hun Sen. There were rumours that Prime Minister Hun Sen had plans to remove Ke Kim Yan from commander of RCAF because of an internal dispute in the CPP. Days later after the news broke out that Yan was being removed, members of the CPP Party said it was a regular reshuffle of the Kingdom's military leadership and that there are no internal problems within the CPP party. It is expected that Ke Kim Yan will be promoted to Deputy Prime Minister by Hun Sen and will be in charge of anti-drugs trafficking. The Army Commander is General Meas Sophea and the Army Chief of Staff is Chea Saran.

Country name:
conventional long form: Kingdom of Cambodia
conventional short form: Cambodia
local long form: Preahreacheanachakr Kampuchea (phonetic pronunciation)
local short form: Kampuchea
former: Khmer Republic, Democratic Kampuchea, People's Republic of Kampuchea, State of Cambodia
Government type:
multiparty democracy under a constitutional monarchy
Capital:
name: Phnom Penh
geographic coordinates: 11 33 N, 104 55 E
time difference: UTC+7 (12 hours ahead of Washington, DC during Standard Time)
Administrative divisions:
23 provinces (khett, singular and plural) and 1 municipality (krong, singular and plural)
provinces: Banteay Mean Choay, Batdambang, Kampong Cham, Kampong Chhnang, Kampong Spoe, Kampong Thum, Kampot, Kandal, Kaoh Kong, Keb, Krachen, Mondol Kiri, Otdar Mean Choay, Pailin, Pouthisat, Preah Seihanu (Sihanoukville), Preah Vihear, Prey Veng, Rotanokiri, Siem Reab, Stoeng Treng, Svay Rieng, Takev
municipalities: Phnum Penh (Phnom Penh)
Independence:
9 November 1953 (from France)
National holiday:
Independence Day, 9 November (1953)
Constitution:
promulgated 21 September 1993
Legal system:
civil law system (influenced by the UN Transitional Authority in Cambodia) customary law, Communist legal theory, and common law
International law organization participation:
accepts compulsory ICJ jurisdiction with reservations; accepts ICCt jurisdiction
Suffrage:
18 years of age; universal
Executive branch:
chief of state: King Norodom SIHAMONI (since 29 October 2004)
head of government: Prime Minister HUN SEN (since 14 January 1985) [co-prime minister from 1993 to 1997]; Permanent Deputy Prime Minister MEN SAM AN (since 25 September 2008); Deputy Prime Ministers SAR KHENG (since 3 February 1992); SOK AN, TEA BANH, HOR NAMHONG, NHEK BUNCHHAY (since 16 July 2004); BIN CHHIN (since 5 September 2007); KEAT CHHON, YIM CHHAI LY (since 24 September 2008); KE KIMYAN (since 12 March 2009)
cabinet: Council of Ministers named by the prime minister and appointed by the monarch
(For more information visit the World Leaders website 
elections: the king chosen by a Royal Throne Council from among all eligible males of royal descent; following legislative elections, a member of the majority party or majority coalition named prime minister by the Chairman of the National Assembly and appointed by the king
Legislative branch:
bicameral, consists of the Senate (61 seats; 2 members appointed by the monarch, 2 elected by the National Assembly, and 57 elected by parliamentarians and commune councils; members serve five-year terms) and the National Assembly (123 seats; members elected by popular vote to serve five-year terms)
elections: Senate - last held on 22 January 2006 (next to be held in January 2012); National Assembly - last held on 27 July 2008 (next to be held in July 2013)
election results: Senate - percent of vote by party - CPP 69%, FUNCINPEC 21%, SRP 10%; seats by party - CPP 45, FUNCINPEC 10, SRP 2; National Assembly - percent of vote by party - CPP 58%, SRP 22%, HRP 7%; NRP 6%; FUNCINPEC 5%; others 2%; seats by party - CPP 90, SRP 26, HRP 3, FUNCINPEC 2, NRP 2
Judicial branch:
Supreme Council of the Magistracy (provided for in the constitution and formed in December 1997); Supreme Court (and lower courts) exercises judicial authority
Political parties and leaders:
Cambodian People's Party or CPP [CHEA SIM]; Human Rights Party or HRP [KHEM SOKHA, also spelled KEM SOKHA]; National United Front for an Independent, Neutral, Peaceful, and Cooperative Cambodia or FUNCINPEC [KEV PUT REAKSMEI]; Nationalist Party or NP [CHHIM SEAK LENG] (formerly the NRP); Sam Rangsi Party or SRP [SAM RANGSI, also spelled SAM RAINSY]
Political pressure groups and leaders:
Cambodian Freedom Fighters or CFF; Partnership for Transparency Fund or PTF (anti-corruption organization); Students Movement for Democracy; The Committee for Free and Fair Elections or Comfrel
other: human rights organizations; vendors
International organization participation:
ADB, ARF, ASEAN, CICA (observer), EAS, FAO, G-77, IBRD, ICAO, ICRM, IDA, IFAD, IFC, IFRCS, ILO, IMF, IMO, Interpol, IOC, IOM, IPU, ISO (subscriber), ITU, MIGA, NAM, OIF, OPCW, PCA, UN, UNCTAD, UNESCO, UNIDO, UNIFIL, UNMIS, UNWTO, UPU, WCO, WFTU, WHO, WIPO, WMO, WTO
Diplomatic representation in the US:
chief of mission: Ambassador HENG HEM
chancery: 4530 16th Street NW, Washington, DC 20011
telephone: [1] (202) 726-7742
FAX: [1] (202) 726-8381
Diplomatic representation from the US:
chief of mission: Ambassador Carol A. RODLEY
embassy: #1, Street 96, Sangkat Wat Phnom, Khan Daun Penh, Phnom Penh
mailing address: Box P, APO AP 96546
telephone: [855] (23) 728-000
FAX: [855] (23) 728-600
Flag description:
three horizontal bands of blue (top), red (double width), and blue with a white three-towered temple representing Angkor Wat outlined in black in the center of the red band; red and blue are traditional Cambodian colors
note: only national flag to incorporate an actual building in its design
National anthem:
name: "Nokoreach" (Royal Kingdom)
lyrics/music: CHUON NAT/F. PERRUCHOT and J. JEKYLL
note: adopted 1941, restored 1993; the anthem, based on a Cambodian folk tune, was restored after the defeat of the Communist regime

 

 
 
 
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