Cambodia Considers Dual Citizenship Ban for High Office Holders

The knee-jerk move followed a newspaper report – later corrected – that Prime Minister Hun Sen had acquired Cypriot citizenship.

Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen has ordered the country’s Ministry of Justice to study possible amendments to the country’s Constitution that would ban dual citizens from serving in the country’s top political posts. The suggested move would permit the country’s prime minister, and the presidents of the National Assembly, Senate, and Constitutional Council, to hold only Cambodian citizenship.

“In order to show loyalty to the nation and to avoid foreign interferences, the national leaders who serve as the president of the Senate, the president of the National Assembly, the prime minister and president of the Constitutional Council must have a single Cambodian citizenship,” Hun Sen wrote on his Facebook page yesterday, according to the government mouthpiece Fresh News.

The move came in rapid response to an erroneous report in The Guardian on October 4 that Hun Sen had recently purchased citizenship from the government of Cyprus. The article, part of the newspaper’s otherwise excellent coverage of the massive Pandora Papers document leak, referenced a Reuters special investigation from 2019 that found “some members of the Cambodian leader Hun Sen’s inner circle” had, along with sundry Saudi sheikhs and Russian oligarchs, purchased Cypriot passports.

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