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Last Updated: Tuesday, 19 October, 2004, 09:50 GMT 10:50 UK
A new king for Cambodia: Your views
Cambodian Royal Palace
Authorities in Cambodia have elected Prince Norodom Sihamoni as the country's new king.

Sihamoni, 51, one of the sons of King Sihanouk is a dance teacher and until recently Cambodia's ambassador to UNESCO in Paris.

King Sihanouk announced his abdication last week and cited poor health as his main reason to step down.

Although the monarch is largely a symbolic figure in Cambodia it enjoys great popularity in the country.

Is Sihamoni the right person for the Cambodian throne? What should the new King do for his country? What is the legacy of the six decade rule of Sihanouk? Send us your views

This debate is now closed. Thank you for your comments.

Your comments:

While Sihamoni might be a nice fellow, it is hard to believe that he would be the one best suited for the job.
David, Milwaukee, USA
Since Cambodia doesn't have a dynastic Monarchy, what is the sense in electing the son of King Sihanouk to be the new King. While Sihamoni might be a nice fellow, it is hard to believe that he would be the one best suited for the job. Probably, the authorities should have tried to elect someone who has played more of a significant role in recent Cambodian events.
David, Milwaukee, USA

Although Cambodia's new king has had neither experience nor much knowledge about his country, I am confident he would learn to rule his own country, just like his father. Whether he would be able to do as much as his father has done or not, we will have to wait and see. We must give the new king a chance. He has already saved the Cambodia's monarchy.
Thak Seenak , Islamabad, Pakistan

Sihamoni has been groomed for the job in this land where custom, tradition, and ritual still hold sway. A peaceful succession where the monarch holds pride of place ensures stability. However Sihanouk's life was a chequed one having been in exile for a considerable period. He was a wily monarch and though the post of king is symbolic, he is widely revered in the country.
Pancha Chandra, Brussels, Belgium

I'm sure everyone has heard of the proverb "do not judge a man until you've walked in his shoes", in saying that I believe that for those who have already judge and criticize the new king it is completely unfair. What kind of people would we be if we were to criticize a man, not yet observing his abilities? We as people and lovers of the kingdom of Cambodia should be optimistic and have faith in the new king, it does not matter if his passions are dancing or the fact that he lived abroad, all that matters is that now he knows his duties and he is promising prosperity and hope for the kingdom of Cambodia. However we should understand that although the king has great responsibility, it is also the duty of all the political leaders and government members to work together with the king to bring peace and rebuild Cambodia. I just want to say congratulations your majesty, we will support you one hundred percent, we understand that there are a lot of battles and hard jobs to face in the future but we believe that you will keep your word and bring peace and tranquility to Cambodia.
Ratha Nataly Lee, brisbane, australia

The old king, in an act of love for his people and nation, gave up his throne to ensure a peaceful succession. I am sure that the new king has been taught well by his parents and will follow in his father's footsteps and do a great job for his people. Stirling
Earl of Stirling, Evansville, Indiana USA

Congratulations Your Majesty. Make me proud and take Cambodia to growth and prosperity
Hua, Los Angeles, CA, USA
Congratulations Your Majesty. Make me proud and take Cambodia to growth and prosperity. Visit the country and understand how ordinary and average Cambodians live and make a living.

Don't isolate yourself in only the Palace, which is spectacular. Observe the country infrastructures and fix them. Setup a royal foundation to take care of the orphans, the poor, and the veterans. Build roads. Stop corruption. Tell Cambodian politicians to stop siphoning off the national treasury to enrich themselves and their families. Good luck and best wishes.
Hua, Los Angeles, CA, USA

King Sihamoni is not the right person for this throne. A good king must have knowledge of the country's needs; he must be aware of the people's living conditions. King Sihamoni has never been interested in such things he has only been interested in ballet dancing. Ex King Sihanouk in his messages said that King Sihamoni loves his country.

We don't doubt that, however, King Sihamoni has spent more of his time abroad. I have little hope that he could be a good king. King Sihamoni is used to the European life style: Eating bread, enjoying cold weather and ballet, suddenly, he was chosen to be the king of a poor country, poor but enriched with traditional Apsara dance. However, from a political point of view only King Sihamoni can be the king. Any attempts to select another king will dissatisfy ex King Sihanouk for whom Cambodians have a great appreciation.
Vireak, Phnom Penh, Cambodia

I hope that King Sihamoni will not repeat his father's mistakes and learns how to make all the right moves. The Cambodian people have suffered enough and need a King who could lead and do the right things for his people. He has time to prove himself. I wish him well and hope that he can bring peace to Cambodia.
Saphia Thach, Auckland, New Zealand

I hope his majesty the new king will know Cambodians' pains and help to eliminate those pains.
Rith, Phnom Penh

King Sihanouk is one of the wisest, humblest Kings Cambodians have ever had! He is leaving everything ready for his people so he could rest in peace. Prince Sihamony is the best choice, the Crown Council has chosen. I believe in him. God bless Cambodia. Amen.
Ray Sano, Phnom Penh

I have no choice but to support him so he can keep the Monarchy alive. I hope the new king will play an important role in Cambodia's politic scene. Cambodian people, like me, don't know him well. I hope he talks to us so we can get to know him.
Nimol, Phnom Penh, Cambodia

The Cambodian monarchy shares many similar characteristics to the Thai monarchy. Whatever your personal feeling towards any monarchy is, we SE Asians need it for peace if nothing else.
Pawat, Lampang, Thailand

If prince Sihamoni was elected to be the next king we only have to accept it.
Napha, Phnom Penh, Cambodia

I hope the new king does good things for the country
Ptas, Lyon, French
To have or not a King is not important to me but for many people it is important to have a king. Cambodians are always loyal to the king. I hope the new king does good things for the country
Ptas, Lyon, French

Cambodians always love the king, because they think the King is the only person who can solve all the problems in the country. Is the King really important for the Nation's development? Millions of Cambodians live in poverty. What's going to do the new King? I hope the new king gives education to the young people that is what we want. We need education to develop our country. From a Cambodian student in Paris
Koko, Paris, France

The coronation of King Sihamoni will help avoid what could have been an ugly transitional period following Sihanouk's death. Since this has been averted, this will not be the case, which will add stability to the Cambodian political arena. Whether or not Sihamoni has the same charisma of his father remains to be seen, but he is deeply popular with ordinary Cambodians. With Cambodia on the verge of WTO membership, I think that Sihamoni needs to get all political parties working together or at least put an end to the continual bickering, as well as promote human rights in Cambodia. As for Sihanouk, it is clear that there will be another ruler like during all of Cambodia's turmoil he has been the only consistent figure- and in some cases- beacon of hope for the future. I wish the new King a long and healthy reign and to King Sihanouk a happy retirement.
Alexander Roberts, London, United Kingdom

As a Cambodian-American growing up in the States, I see the royal family as only an institution. My only concern is that Norodom Sihanouk who was an outspoken critic continues to speak out his mind. The current prime minister welcomes this new king because he hopes that he is not a critic like his father. The King should play the role as the "Father" of his country and this new King must speak his mind.
Matthew Chea, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA

I wish him to be a good King like his father, because Cambodian people need a hero King to resolve the politics and poverty of its citizens. Moreover, I hope he is independent King like his father.
Sok Poline, Takhmao/ Cambodia

Hun Sen, approved Prince Sihamoni appointment hoping he might be easy to be control just like the French expected of King Sihanouk. I hope Prince Sihamoni will shock the country leaders in the same way as King Sihanouk shocked the French. God bless the new king.
Thy Prak, Saskatoon, Canada

Having a king in Cambodia politically and economically does not benefit the people and the abdication and succession of the king is not for the sake of the people, but rather to ensure the existence of monarchy (or king's family) in Cambodia. The new king's performance will be pending on political influence.
Nazita Bud, Phnom Penh, Cambodia

May he unite Cambodia and lead the country to peace as its people have gone through so much suffering
Thavrith B., California, USA
I am sure king Norodom Sihanouk had envisioned political disaster if he hadn't abdicated now. There would certainly be dangers including the risk of ending Cambodian monarchy by political opportunists both certain foreigners and Cambodians. Electing Prince Sihamoni as a replacement is the right choice because of his apolitical stance. My only concern and hope is that he won't be coerced and bribed for political reasons. May he unite Cambodia and lead the country to peace as its people have gone through so much suffering.
Thavrith B., California, USA

King Sihanouk made the wise decision in proposing a successor whose image has not been tarnished. I hope King Sihamoni will continue to voice his father's concern over the rampant corruption, impunity, deforestation and territorial integrity, even though those powerful elements would consider such concern as political interference.
Amariddh, Svay Rieng, Cambodia

With all the political turmoil and all the instabilities Cambodia faced, King Sihanouk remains loved by the people of Cambodia because he was a people's King. I agree too that constitutional monarchy is the way to go for some countries and it's very cultural too. I wish His Majesty all the best and may heavenly beings bless the people of Cambodia and their King.
Nam Long, Los Angeles, California, USA

I welcome and respect for the new king, since he was selected legally. He will be a symbol of Khmer monarchy. However, his ability to solve political crisis as his father can is still in doubt. However, under his father guidance, I believe he will be a best regarded king to the Khmer people.
Satawat, Saitama, Japan

Sihamoni seems very much a blank canvas for Sihanouk to politically paint the way he sees fit. Sihanouk has made some grave errors in the past, Lets hope this is not one of them. For the sake of Cambodian people who have suffered so much, let's hope Sihamoni can bring some positive change.
Steve Christov, Toronto Canada

A backward step, an invitation to corruption and a two-tiered system. We are all born the same, let him work for a living!
Philip O'Donnell, Auckland, New Zealand

King Sihanouk made the right choice. He tried to keep neutral in the conflict of Vietnam, but was dragged into the cold war, resulting in birth of Khmer Rouge and the killing fields. I'm sure the new king will lead his nation to peace and prosperity.
Khalid Rahim, Toronto, Canada

I would like to wish his majesty the best
Thida Mam, San Jose, California, USA
Prince Sihamoni is the most qualified prince of all his brothers and sisters to be our next king. I would like to wish his majesty the best.
Thida Mam, San Jose, California, USA

Constitutional monarchies are a very cultured way to run a country, as opposed to many other methods, and I wish the king well and hope for the best for the Cambodian people.
Visvesh Seshadri, Fremont, California

As a neighbouring country to Cambodia, we are concerned about the development of Cambodia. I hope the smooth succession of King Sihamoni to the throne, may bring the much needed stability to her long suffering people.
Ko Po Hui, Singapore

If he's been approved by Hun Sen, I can't see it being any great shakes for democracy. It's just one more boost for his corrupt stranglehold on the country.
Minnie, London

There's plenty of rebuilding yet to be done in Cambodia, not just physically but mentally too. I hope that King Sihamoni will lead the way by learning from the past while raising the profile of this wonderful country and people as they build a positive future. Cambodians may not view the King in the same way as Thai's do, but they are a proud nation with a rich heritage and deserve better.
Brian, Vancouver, Canada

People were so comfortable about speaking their views about the king
Daniel Montalbano, New York, New York
On my recent visits to Cambodia I did not find that the 'people" held great reverence for the monarchy especially King Sihanouk, whom many blame for the genocide during the Khmer Rouge era. It was a refreshing sign of freedom to me that people were so comfortable about speaking their views about the King.
Daniel Montalbano, New York, New York

Cambodia with its troubled past needs continuity. The King has shown great foresight with his abdication and this should ensure a smooth transfer of this very important role for Cambodia.
Carl Johnson, Leeds, England

The new king Sihamoni should offer a public explanation if he had and what kind of role he took in the killing field regime (1975-79).
Sideth, Banlun, Cambodia

Cambodia needs democracy - the monarch has got to go
Liberty Forever, Phnom Penh, Cambodia
Cambodia needs democracy - the monarch has got to go. These same people who abandon the Khmer people while the communist Pol Pot kill 2 million innocent. God help us get those responsible for the killings. I lost my whole family when I was just 10 year old. Only the international community can bring them to justice.
Liberty Forever, Phnom Penh, Cambodia

I think who becomes the King is not a the important point but who chooses the King. The top two supreme monks should not involve in the Throne Council as both of them are not independent, they are just politically influenced. I think the King is not really important for Cambodia, the most important thing is to limit the mandate for the Prime Minister. When the term is limited the Prime Minister will try his best to rebuild Cambodia.
Kevin Tou, Paris, France

I don't think that new king is symbolic for Khmer. Most Cambodians don't really know him yet. Monarchy in Cambodia will die if the new king does not get right the political game.
Sara Deth, Phnom Penh

King Norodom Sihamoni has a hard act to follow. King Norodom Sihanouk has lived through the Vietnam War, the Cold War, and the Khmer Rouge. May God bless him in his retirement.
Andrew Moore, Minneapolis, USA

As he can act as an apolitical focal point for national unity, I don't think his personality is important
Mark MacClennan, UK
I'm very happy at this development. I've been concerned, for a number of years, that Hun Sen might take the opportunity of Sihanouk's death to abolish the monarchy, and install an illegitimate republic. I still don't feel that the succession rules are clear enough, and feel it would be better to have a primogeniture system, to safeguard the monarchy. As far as Sihamoni's personal qualities are concerned, as long as he can act as an apolitical focal point for national unity, I don't think his personality is important.
Mark MacClennan, UK

Profile: Norodom Sihamoni
13 Oct 04  |  Asia-Pacific

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