Asia - Pacific

Cambodia rushes to amend law after premier's dual nationality controversy

King, Cabinet back law to bar holders of kingdom's top 4 positions from acquiring foreign citizenship

Riyaz ul Khaliq   | 12.10.2021
Cambodia rushes to amend law after premier's dual nationality controversy


Cambodia is moving to amend its constitution to make dual citizenship impossible for holders of the kingdom’s top four positions, local media reported on Tuesday.

Prime Minister Hun Sen’s government recently approved a draft law under which the premier and heads of the Senate, National Assembly, and Constitutional Council cannot hold dual citizenship, according to daily Khmer Times.

The law aims to “avoid foreign interference and show loyalty to the nation” and has been endorsed by King Norodom Sihamoni after being approved by the Cabinet, the report said.

Phay Siphan, a government spokesman, explained last week that the laws mandate that the prime minister, all members of the legislative bodies, and the Constitutional Council must have only one Khmer citizenship at birth.

He said the laws also make it necessary for the president and vice-presidents of the National Election Committee to have single Khmer nationality at birth, according to daily Phnom Penh Post.

Cambodia’s rush to amend the law comes after UK-based newspaper the Guardian accused Sen of having citizenship of Southern Cyprus.

The report cited the Pandora Papers, recently released by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists, and was later retracted.

Elisabeth Ribbans, readers’ editor at the Guardian, sent a letter to Cambodia’s Foreign Ministry saying the publication had taken “prompt action to rectify this error,” Phnom Penh Post reported.

“I can reassure you that the error was notified to me by the Guardian’s own editorial staff yesterday and the article was amended and footnoted accordingly,” she said.

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