Marking a new chapter in the Kingdom’s history, the National Assembly on the morning of August 21 convened its inaugural session under the auspices of King Norodom Sihamoni.
The much-anticipated two-day event marks a significant milestone in Cambodian politics, with the Kingdom poised to witness a change of leadership not only in the parliament but also in, for the first time in nearly four decades, the executive branch.
The inaugural session saw incumbent NA president Heng Samrin, as the oldest member of parliament, deliver his opening address in the presence of the King.
Addressing the session, the King congratulated all the lawmakers-elect who have been chosen by the people in the July 23 general election.
He said this marks the 30th anniversary of the Kingdom’s first democratic national election in 1993, and highlighted the hard-won peace enjoyed by all compatriots today.
“As members of parliament, the representatives of the Khmer nation, you must do your utmost to ensure that all Cambodian people enjoy equality, access to quality education and employment which match their capacities,” he said.
The King said he strongly believes that the government of the new mandate will deserve the trust of the parliament. He urged all civil servants to fulfil their duties based on policies which boost economic growth, promote people’s living standards and continue to expand an inclusive social security system, among others.
He also called on Cambodians to maintain solidarity and unity, based on the spirit of national reconciliation.
The most significant contribution to Cambodia’s political chronology is not the commencement of the session itself, but the changes of leadership which are expected to take place across the government spectrum.
The highest level changes were announced by the winning Cambodian People’s Party (CPP), when they confirmed to the public that Hun Manet is to take the office of Prime Minister, with Khuon Sudary slated to assume the NA presidency. Caretaker Prime Minister Hun Sen is to take the role of Senate president following the 2024 Senate election.
These changes were tipped not only at the top tier of leadership, but also down to most of the government’s ministries and institutions.
The inaugural session of the NA was also attended by foreign diplomats and representatives from several major national and international NGOs.
Following the official opening by the King, the August 21 session will be led by incumbent NA president Samrin, with the mandate of each member, as well as the internal rules for the new mandate, set to be approved later in the day.
On August 22, the NA will elect a president, two vice presidents, and heads of each of the NA’s specialist commissions, as well as give a vote of confidence to the new government.
The new National Assembly will also see the return of the royalist FUNCINPEC Party, which clinched five of the total 125 parliament seats.