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Cambodia Closer to Choosing New King - 2004-10-11

Cambodia's Senate and Constitutional Council have approved formation of a committee to pick a successor to King Norodom Sihanouk, who is quitting the throne.

The legislation must now be signed by acting head of state Chea Sim. That action is expected Tuesday.

The council is then scheduled to meet Thursday to vote on the favored choice, Prince Norodom Sihamoni.

In a statement Sunday, the king appeared to back his son for the throne, saying Prince Sihamoni is non-partisan, which suits Cambodia's current situation. The king urged Cambodians to pick a new king quickly to avoid any unrest or chaos.

Eighty-one-year-old King Sihanouk stunned Cambodia Thursday when he announced he is stepping down, citing poor health. Cambodia's monarchy is not hereditary.