Decentralisation reforms in Cambodia are a recent development. It is only in 2001 that the commune election law and the commune administration and management law (hereafter referred to as the
commune law) were enacted.
These two laws provide the general framework for decentralised governance at the commune’ level, the lowest of the four-tier (i.e. national, province, district and commune) administrative system in Cambodia. Appointed governors govern the provinces and districts,’ whereas elected commune councils govern the 1,621 communes.
In early February 2002, 954 women and 10,307 men were elected as commune chiefs, first and second deputy chiefs and as councillors. The size of the commune council (a minimum of five persons, and increasing unevenly to a maximum of 11) is a function of the population of the commune, which may vary from as little as 200 inhabitants to as many as 80,000. The average commune population is about 7,600 people.