<<< Return to the Historical Archive page of parliamentary elections results for Cambodia <<<

  Radhsphea Ney Preah Recheanachakr Kampuchea
Dates of election / renewal (from/to):
  27 July 2003
Purpose of elections:
  Elections were held for all the seats in the National Assembly on the normal expiry of the members' term of office.
Background and outcome of elections:
  Cambodians went to the polls on 27 July 2003 to elect all the 123 members of the National Assembly from a total of 23 parties that contested the elections.

Despite the large amount of parties in competition, only the royalist Funcinpec Party - a junior partner in the outgoing government coalition - and the opposition Sam Rainsy Party were considered serious challengers to Prime Minister Hun Sen's Cambodian People's Party.

The 2003 elections were the most peaceful since Cambodia began its transition to democracy in 1993. Political assassinations, violence and intimidation had marred previous ballots, but security for the 2003 vote was vastly improved.

More than thirty thousand police were deployed across the country. Nevertheless, the electoral campaign was tarnished by violence (at least eight politically motivated deaths) and accusations from opposition parties that the ruling Cambodian People's Party ran a campaign of intimidation.

Some one hundred and fifty thousand electoral monitors (local and international monitors from the United States, Australia and Europe) were fielded to ensure that the elections reached the international standards of free and fair.

The United Nations chief human rights representative for Cambodia had declared that the government needed to do more to ensure that the general elections were credible and transparent, adding that while progress had been made, there were still "significant obstacles" preventing the poll from being free and fair. Without accusing any specific party, the UN envoy declared that his staff had discovered some cases in which local officials had confiscated voter registration cards, and made people swear allegiance to a particular party.

The election day itself passed off peacefully. Voter turnout among the 6.3 million eligible voters was about 80 per cent.

On 30 August 2003, the electoral authorities announced that the Cambodian People's Party of Prime Minister Hun Sen had won the elections obtaining 73 of the 123 seats at stake. The royalist Funcinpec Party won 26 seats and the opposition Sam Rainsy Party took 24.

On 27 September 2003, the National Assembly began its new session, attended only by representatives of the ruling Cambodian People's Party. King Norodom Sihanouk declined to preside over the opening ceremony, after the main opposition Sam Rainsy Party and the royalist Funcinpec Party (which have formed an Alliance of Democrats) boycotted this session, demanding that the Prime Minister step down.

On 2 October 2003, King Sihanouk effectively dashed the opposition's hopes of an alternate premier in a letter to the Cambodian people in which he stated that a "new royal Cambodian government without Hun Sen at its head is not imaginable." Two days after this letter, all 123 newly elected MPs attended the swearing-in ceremony presided by King Norodom.
Round no 1 (27 July 2003): Election results
Number of registered electors 6'341'834
Voters 5'277'494 (83.22%)
Blank or invalid ballot papers 108'657
Valid votes 5'168'837
Round no 1: Distribution of votes
Political Group Candidates Votes %  
Cambodian People's Party (CPP) 2'447'259 47.35  
United National Front for an Independent, Neutral, Peaceful and Co-operative Cambodia (FUNCINPEC) 1'072'313 20.75  
Sam Rainsy Party (SRP) 1'130'423 21.87  
Round no 1: Distribution of seats
Political Group Total
Cambodian People's Party (CPP) 73
United National Front for an Independent, Neutral, Peaceful and Co-operative Cambodia (FUNCINPEC) 26
Sam Rainsy Party (SRP) 24
Source: Cambodian National Election 2003 Website

Following the 2003 elections, twelve women were elected. As political parties are encouraged to enhance the representation of women in the National Assembly, those male members who passed away or resigned during the current term were thus replaced by female members, which has increased the number of women to 24 out of 123 members. (National Assembly, 23.01.2008)
Distribution of seats according to sex:
Men: 111
Women: 12
Percent of women: 9.76
Distribution of seats according to age:
Distribution of seats according to profession:


<<< Return to the Historical Archive page of parliamentary elections results for Cambodia <<<

Copyright © 1996-2007 Inter-Parliamentary Union