Cambodia - Local government

Under the Lon Nol government, Cambodia was divided into 20 provinces ( khet ), 7 sub-provinces ( anoukhet ), 147 districts ( srok ), and more than 1,200 townships ( sangkat or khum ) and villages ( phum ). Under the Pol Pot regime, administration was essentially decentralized into several major regions. Regions were divided into 41 districts, and the population as a whole was organized in massive rural communes. Under the PRK regime, the pre-1975 system of administration has been restored. Based on the People's Republic of Kampuchea's new constitution of June 1981 Local Assemblies, popularly elected by the respective localities—province, district, sub-district, ward—were instituted with the number of representatives fixed by law, and People's Revolutionary Committee's chosen by the respective assemblies. In 1987 Cambodia was divided into 18 provinces, two special municipalities ( krong ), and Phnom Penh and Kampong Saom, which were under direct central government control. The provinces were subdivided into about 122 districts, 1,324 communes, and 9,386 villages. Municipalities were subdivided into wards ( sangkat ). The same system of assemblies and committees remains in place. The new constitution of the State of Cambodia was adopted on 21 September 1993. People's Committees established in all provinces, municipalities, districts, communes, and wards were responsible for local administration, public security, and local order. Within this system provincial officials and the governor effectively controlled the armed forces and security services, tax collection, civil service—and through them 80% of the Cambodian population. The country's provinces remained under the sway of the Cambodian People's Party (CPP) and responded to the old political loyalties rather than the central authority of the State of Cambodia. To alter this system the National Assembly passed laws to secure central control of the economy. Effective 1 January 1994 a national budget and financial laws were enacted to try to ensure that all revenues came totally and directly to the national treasury. Provincial corruption and lawlessness remain severe problems, as communications and infrastructure are extremely underdeveloped within Cambodia and smuggling is rife.

In February 2002, Cambodia held its first local elections in 23 years. The CPP claimed victory in all but 23 of the 1,621 communes. FUNCINPEC won only seven of the village communes. At least 20 political activists, mostly from opposition parties, were killed in the run-up to the elections. The proportion of female candidates in the elections was 16%.

As of January 2003, there were 20 provinces ( khett ) and 4 municipalities ( krong ).

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