Tong Siv Eng (31 October 1919– 12 June 2001) was a Cambodian politician. She was the first female member of parliament, and the first female cabinet minister, in Cambodia.
She was the daughter of a school principal who encouraged her to study. As there were no secondary education for females in Cambodia, she was given a scholarship to study in Saigon. When she returned to Cambodia, she married the courtier Pung Peng Cheng in 1939. She was a tutor of the royal children, and she and her spouse came to be personal advisers of king Sihanouk.
In 1958, women suffrage was introduced in Cambodia, and in the following elections the same year, Tong Siv Eng became the first and only woman elected to parliament. She served as state secretary in 1958–59, minister of Social Action in 1959–61, and minister of Health in 1963–68. Women were legally subservient to men in the Cambodian civil code of 1958, and there were only three other examples of women in higher positions in Cambodia during the 1960s: Tip Man (1962), the minister of education Diep Dinar (1966), and the under state secretary Nou Neou (1966). She also served as editor of the Samlanh Neary ("Woman's Voice").
She left Cambodia after the coup of 1970. Tong Siv Eng played an important part in the peace negotiations, as she arranged the meetings between Sihanouk and Hun Sen in 1987 and 1988. She died of a heart attack on 12 June 2001, aged 81.
The politics of Cambodia are defined within the framework of a constitutional monarchy, in which the King serves as the head of state, and the prime minister is the head of government. The collapse of communism set in motion events that led to the withdrawal of the Vietnamese armed forces, which had established their presence in the country since the fall of the Khmer Rouge. The 1993 constitution, which is currently in force, was promulgated as a result of the 1991 Paris Peace Agreements, followed by elections organized under the aegis of the United Nations Transitional Authority in Cambodia. The constitution proclaims a liberal, multiparty democracy in which powers are devolved to the executive, the judiciary and the legislature. However, there is no effective opposition to the Prime Minister Hun Sen, who has been in power since 1984. His Cambodian People's Party won all 125 seats in the National Assembly in 2018 after the banning of opposition party CNRP. Furthermore, the governing charter declares Cambodia to be an "independent, sovereign, peaceful, permanently neutral and non-aligned State."
Norodom Sihanouk was a Cambodian politician who led Cambodia in various capacities throughout his political career, but most often as the King of Cambodia. In Cambodia, he is known as Samdech Euv. During his lifetime, Cambodia was variously called the French Protectorate of Cambodia, the Kingdom of Cambodia (1953–1970), the Khmer Republic (1970–75), Democratic Kampuchea (1975–79), the People's Republic of Kampuchea (1979–93), and again the Kingdom of Cambodia.
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Norodom Sihamoni is the King of Cambodia. He became King on 14 October 2004, a week after the abdication of his father, Norodom Sihanouk. He is the eldest son of King Sihanouk and Queen Norodom Monineath. He was Cambodia's ambassador to UNESCO and was named by a nine-member throne council to become the next king after his father Norodom Sihanouk abdicated in 2004. Before ascending the throne, Sihamoni was educated in Czechoslovakia and was best known for his work as a cultural ambassador in Europe and as a classical dance instructor.
Roza Isakovna Otunbayeva is a Kyrgyz diplomat and politician who served as the President of Kyrgyzstan from 7 April 2010 until 1 December 2011, becoming the first female Central Asian Head of State. She was sworn in on July 3, 2010, after acting as interim leader following the 2010 April revolution which led to the ousting of President Kurmanbek Bakiyev. She previously served as Minister of Foreign Affairs and as head of the parliamentary caucus for the Social Democratic Party of Kyrgyzstan.
Norodom Buppha Devi was a Cambodian princess, dancer, director of the Royal Ballet of Cambodia, senator, and Minister of Culture and Fine Arts. She was the daughter of Norodom Sihanouk and the late Neak Moneang Phat Kanhol, the elder sister of Prince Norodom Ranariddh, and a half-sibling of the current King of Cambodia, Norodom Sihamoni. Her official title was Her Royal Highness Samdech Reach Botrei Preah Ream Norodom Buppha Devi.
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Dame Margaret Georgina Constance Guilfoyle was an Australian politician who served as a senator for Victoria from 1971 to 1987, representing the Liberal Party. She was the first woman to hold a cabinet-level ministerial portfolio in Australia and served as a minister for the duration of the Fraser Government. Guilfoyle was successively Minister for Education (1975), Minister for Social Security (1975–1980) and Minister for Finance (1980–1983). She worked as an accountant before entering politics and in retirement held various positions in the public and non-profit sectors.
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Sam Sary was a Cambodian politician who participated in the so-called Bangkok Plot against Prince Norodom Sihanouk. He was a son of Sam Nhean, a prominent politician in the 1940s, and father of Sam Rainsy, the leader of Cambodia's main opposition party. He was a close confidant of the then Prince Norodom Sihanouk but had a falling-out with the Prince when he was exposed in corruption, selling import licenses and a second time during his tenure as a Cambodian ambassador to London in 1958, for beating his pregnant servant. He was alleged to have beaten her so badly that she escaped to the protection of the London police. The scandal made headlines in the London tabloids and he was recalled to Cambodia and stripped of all of his duties. He disappeared mysteriously in 1962.
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Movements for Muslim women to seek roles in national leadership have increased rapidly. Greater opportunities for women in education have further encouraged their involvement in politics. The most prominent Muslim female leaders are former prime minister of Pakistan Benazir Bhutto, Indonesian President Megawati Sukarnoputri, former Turkish Prime Minister Tansu Ciller, former Senegalese Prime Minister Mame Madior Boye, Bangladeshi Prime Ministers Khaleda Zia and Sheikh Hasina Wajed, former Iranian Vice President Masoumeh Ebtekar, former Malian Prime Minister Cissé Mariam Kaïdama Sidibé, Kosovan President Atifete Jahjaga, former President of Mauritius Ameenah Gurib, and current President of Singapore Halimah Yacob.
Norodom Monineath Sihanouk is the queen mother of Cambodia. She was queen consort of Cambodia from 1952 to 1955 and again from 1993 to 2004, as the wife of King Norodom Sihanouk. She is the widow of King-Father Norodom Sihanouk, whom she married in 1952. Queen Monineath and King Sihanouk parented two children: Norodom Sihamoni and Norodom Narindrapong. Her official, full title is "Samdech Preah Mahaksatrey Norodom Monineath Sihanouk". The Queen is also called "Preah Voreakreach Meada Cheat Khmer". Her birthday on 18 June is an official public holiday in Cambodia.
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Mu Sochua is a Cambodian politician and rights activist. She was a Member of Parliament (MP) for Battambang from 2013 to 2017, a seat which she previously held from 1998 to 2003. She was a member and Vice President of the Cambodia National Rescue Party (CNRP) until its dissolve, and previously a member of the Sam Rainsy Party (SRP) prior to its merger with the Human Rights Party. As a member of FUNCINPEC, she also served as Minister of Women and Veterans' Affairs in Hun Sen's coalition government from 1998 to 2004. She is currently one of 118 senior opposition figures serving a five-year ban from politics following a court ruling on 16 November 2017.
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