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Decentralization within the Centripetal Expression of State Power: Re-Guiding Cambodian Statutory Devolution

October 11th, 2007 · No Comments

Author: PRUM Virak

Abstract

The present central-local relations in Cambodian local government system are of the ‘integrated’ or integrationist model (Kjelberg and Dente 1988) in which the division of central-local functions is blurred, making any real shift of power from the center to local governments impossible to be found. On the one hand, an overall view reveals that the present local governments, though holding devolved powers, are not provided enough resources to fulfill their responsibilities. On the other hand, the ‘general powers’ vested in them to deal with the welfare of the citizens are only nominal and are not encouraging enough to urge the judiciary to favor the local power for lack of a clear separation of functions. This integrated decentralization completely depends on the central government’s commitment as to the extent of which it eventually intends to let local governments affect the well being of local residents. This article provides directions for some crucial steps to take both in the short and long run, without which Cambodian devolution can only be a lipservice and that re-centralization would remain the dominating term.

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