Cambodia Table of Contents
The Constitution of the PRK, promulgated on June 27, 1981, defines Cambodia as "a democratic state...gradually advancing toward socialism." The transition to socialism was to take place under the leadership of the Kampuchean (or Khmer) People's Revolutionary Party (KPRP--see Appendix B), a Marxist-Leninist party founded in June 1951 (see The Emergence of Nationalism , ch. 1). The Constitution explicitly defines the country's position in international relations. It places Cambodia within the Soviet Union's orbit. The country's primary enemies, according to the Constitution, are "the Chinese expansionists and hegemonists in Beijing, acting in collusion with United States imperialism and other powers."
The Constitution guarantees a broad range of civil liberties and fundamental rights. Citizens are to be equal before the law and are entitled to enjoy the same rights and duties regardless of sex, religion, or race. They have the right to participate in the political, economic, social, and cultural life of the country and to be paid according to the amount and quality of work they perform. Men and women are entitled to equal pay for equal work. All individuals--including monks and soldiers--over the age of eighteen may vote, and citizens over twenty-one may run for election. The Constitution also guarantees the inviolability of people and of their homes; privacy of correspondence; freedom from illegal search and arrest; the right to claim reparation for damages caused by illegal actions of the state, social organizations, and their personnel; and freedom of speech, of the press, and of assembly. The exercise of fundamental rights, however, is subject to certain restrictions. For example, an act may not injure the honor of other persons, nor should it adversely affect the mores and customs of society, or public order, or national security. In line with the principle of socialist collectivism, citizens are obligated to carry out "the state's political line and defend collective property."
The Constitution also addresses principles governing culture, education, social welfare, and public health. Development of language, literature, the arts, and science and technology is stressed, along with the need for cultural preservation, tourist promotion, and cultural cooperation with foreign countries.
Provisions for state organs are in the constitutional chapters dealing with the National Assembly, the Council of State, the Council of Ministers, the local people's revolutionary committees, and the judiciary. Fundamental to the operation of all public bodies is the principle that the KPRP serves as the most important political institution of the state. Intermediary linkages between the state bureaucracy and grass-roots activities are provided by numerous organizations affiliated with the KUFNCD (see The Kampuchean (or Khmer) United Front for National Construction and Defense , this ch.).
Data as of December 1987