Former Cambodian Prime Minister Norodom Ranarid, a half-brother of the King who spent his last years in the political shadow of former rival Hun Sen, has died in France. He was 77 years old.
Information Minister Khieu Kanharith said he had received information from the royal palace. The prince, who won the election in 1993 by a royalist party, was banished by a coalition partner in a 1997 coup. Hun Sen, the authoritarian leader of Cambodia today..
In a letter of condolence sent to Ranarid’s wife, Hun Sen stated that his death meant “the loss of a prominent royal official who loved the country, religion, and king.”
Ranarid has been the most political member of the Cambodian royal family in recent decades and has led the Funcinpec Party to challenge the elections for many years after his expulsion.
But in 2017 he disappointed Hun Sen’s opponents by supporting the dissolution of another party whose leader was imprisoned for treason.
Ranarid said he had no choice but to work with Hun Sen. Hun Sen has since been on the sidelines of virtually all opposition parties and now presides over a one-party parliament.
“Hun Sen, do you want or don’t want, do you like or hate him, he brings unity to this nation,” Ranarid explained his position for the year.
His younger brother, King Norodom Sihanouk, has been the Constitutional Monarch of Cambodia since the abdication of his legendary father, King Norodom Sihanouk, in 2004. Sihanouk died in Beijing in 2012 at the age of 89.
Ranarid’s career shows not only the political turmoil in Cambodia, but also how Hun Sen has neutralized all rivals since he left the Khmer Rouge in the genocide in the late 1970s and was expelled from power.
Hun Sen led the Communist government of Phnom Penh, which was backed by neighboring Vietnam for more than a decade while the Khmer Rouge rebelled against guerrillas.
During this time, the great royal family of Cambodia lived in exile. Led by former absolute ruler King Sihanouk, he led Cambodia to independence from France and later became the first prime minister to participate in politics.
Raised in France, Ranarid worked as a French law instructor when his father called him to lead a party that challenged the 1993 elections hosted by the United Nations as part of the peace process.
With strong royalist sentiment, Ranarid defeated Hun Sen’s former Communist Party that year. But when Hun Sen threatened to return to war, political arrangements led to a coalition of rivals that made Ranarid the “first prime minister” and Hun Sen the “second prime minister.”
The uneasy coalition lasted only four years. Ranarid was exiled in 1997 after being defeated by Hun Sen’s army in a bloody clash in Phnom Penh.
He was convicted of fraud exiled from the Funcinpec Party in 2008 and made two more torts in politics.
In 2015, he formed an unexpected alliance with the man who defeated him and returned to Funcinpec to work with the Cambodian People’s Party in Hun Sen.
The personal tragedy continued three years later when his second wife, Ouk Phalla, 39, was killed in a head-on collision on the road to a campaign with him.
Funcinpec said in a statement that Ranarid’s body would soon be repatriated, and US Ambassador to Cambodia Patrick Murphy tweeted his condolences.
Former Cambodian Prime Minister Norodom Ranarid dies at age 77 | Cambodia
Source link Former Cambodian Prime Minister Norodom Ranarid dies at age 77 | Cambodia