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Cambodia Set to Choose New King - 2004-10-12

Cambodia's government has formally set up the committee that will select the successor to King Norodom Sihanouk, who is quitting the throne.

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

In a statement posted to his web site Tuesday, the king said he is deeply touched by those who urge him to remain on the throne, but believes his abdication is in the best interests of the country.

He says choosing a new king now will avoid turmoil and ensure the country remains a monarchy.

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