Prince Norodom Ranariddh, the second son of the late King Father Norodom Sihanouk and former First Prime Minister of Cambodia, has passed away in France at the age of 77.
“Samdech Krom Preah Norodom Ranariddh has passed away this morning in France just after 9am Paris-time,” confirmed Oum Daravuth, adviser to the secretariat of Queen Mother Norodom Monineath Sihanouk.
Born in 1944, Prince Ranariddh was the leader of the royalist FUNCINPEC party and served as the First Prime Minister from 1993 until 1997 following Cambodia’s first democratic elections organised by the UN Transitional Authority in Cambodia.
Prime Minister Hun Sen – who served as the Second Prime Minister during that four-year period in a two-party coalition government – wrote a letter of condolences to the Prince’s family, friends and supporters on November 28.
Prince Ranariddh then went on to serve as the president of the National Assembly from 1998 to 2006, following the 1998 elections when his party was runner-up in the vote to the Cambodian People’s Party.
In later years, the Prince had mostly retired from politics and his party’s political base was gradually eroded by the rise of other more active opposition groups. He also suffered injuries in a traffic accident in Preah Sihanouk province in 2018 in which his wife Ouk Phalla was killed.
In January of this year, Prince Ranariddh began an apparent political comeback as president of the FUNCINPEC party – though it proved to be short-lived – after returning from medical treatment in France to take over the reins from his eldest son Prince Norodom Chakravuth.