Former Cambodian PM Prince Norodom Ranariddh has died: Information minister

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PHNOM PENH (REUTERS) – Former Cambodian Prime Minister Prince Norodom Ranariddh has died in France, the Cambodian minister of information said. He was 77.

The prince, whose royalist political party won elections in 1993, was ousted in a 1997 coup by his coalition partner and rival Hun Sen, who remains Cambodia’s prime minister more than 20 years later.

Information Minister Khieu Kanharith told Reuters he had received information from the royal palace that Prince Ranariddh had died in Paris.

Prince Ranariddh was the most political member of Cambodia’s royal family in recent decades, continuing to lead the royalist Funcinpec party to contest elections for years after he was ousted.

But in 2017, he dismayed opponents of Mr Hun Sen by saying there was no option but to work with Mr Hun Sen, who has effectively sidelined all opposition parties and now presides over a one-party Parliament.

Prince Ranariddh emerged from the shadow of his charismatic father, King Norodom Sihanouk, and led his Funcinpec party to a surprise victory in a historic UN-run vote in 1993 that was to end more than a decade of civil war in Cambodia.

Although he won the vote, Prince Ranariddh was soon eclipsed and later ousted by the man with whom he agreed to share power, Mr Hun Sen, the leader of the former Communist government.

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