Norodom Ranariddh

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His Royal Highness
Norodom Ranariddh
នរោត្ដម រណឬទ្ធិ
Norodom Ranariddh cropped.jpg
President of the Supreme Privy Council
Assumed office
12 December 2008
Monarch Norodom Sihamoni
Preceded by Position established
First Prime Minister of Cambodia
35th Prime Minister of Cambodia
In office
2 July 1993 – 6 July 1997
Monarch Norodom Sihanouk
Second Prime Minister Hun Sen
Preceded by Hun Sen
Succeeded by Ung Huot
3rd President of the National Assembly
In office
1998 – March 2006
Prime Minister Hun Sen
Vice President Heng Samrin
Nguon Nhel
Preceded by Chea Sim
Succeeded by Heng Samrin
Leader of the Community of Royalist People's Party
Assumed office
16 March 2014
Preceded by Position established
President of the Funcinpec Party
In office
Preceded by Nhiek Tioulong
Succeeded by Keo Puth Rasmey
Member of Parliament
for Kampong Cham
In office
2 July 1993 – March 2006
Personal details
Born (1944-01-02) 2 January 1944 (age 70)
Phnom Penh, Cambodia
Political party Community of Royalist People's Party
Other political
Norodom Ranariddh Party (2006–14)
Funcinpec Party (1981–2006)
Spouse(s) Eng Marie
(m. 1968; div. 2009)
Ouk Phalla
(m. 2009–present)
Children Norodom Chakravuth
Norodom Sihariddh
Norodom Rattana Devi
Norodom Sothearidh
Norodom Ranavong
Religion Theravada Buddhism
Website Samdech Krom Preah Norodom Ranariddh

Prince Norodom Ranariddh (Khmer: នរោត្តម រណឬទ្ធិ; born 2 January 1944) is a Cambodian politician. He is the second son of former king Norodom Sihanouk of Cambodia and a half-brother of the current king, Norodom Sihamoni. He currently serves as the President of the Supreme Privy Council of Cambodia, having been appointed by King Norodom Sihamoni for the position in 2010. Prince Ranariddh was the first democratically-elected Prime Minister of Cambodia and served as first Prime Minister from 1993 to 1997, alongside premier Hun Sen. He was overthrown in a 1997 coup and was replaced by Ung Huot. Ranariddh also served as President of the National Assembly from 1998 to his resignation in March 2006.

In 2006, he founded the Norodom Ranariddh Party (known as the Nationalist Party from 2008 to 2010) which gained 2 seats in the 2008 election. Though voluntarily retiring in 2012, Prince Ranariddh has announced that he will rejoin politics and form a new political party to contest in future elections, known as the Community of Royalist People's Party (CRPP).[1]


Prince Norodom Ranariddh grew up in Phnom Penh and he lived in France for many years. He was appointed a lecturer in law at the University of Provence, now Aix-Marseille Université,[2] and remains one of the world experts in aspects of maritime law.[citation needed] Until recently he still gave lectures at the university, even when he was Prime Minister.[citation needed]

For most of the period of the Vietnamese Occupation of Cambodia 1979–1989, Prince Ranariddh led the Royalist movement, FUNCINPEC. When the monarchy was restored in 1993, his political party won the elections, the first free elections since 1972. As such he is regarded by many Cambodians as the man who brought democracy back to the country. He became Prime Minister, but had to serve jointly with his father's rival Hun Sen who had lost the 1993 elections but wanted to hang onto power and insisted that he remained in the government. By agreement, the two first shared the title of Prime Minister with Ranariddh as First Prime Minister, while Hun Sen became Second Prime Minister. Prince Ranarddh tried to reform the country but was obstructed by Hun Sen. These differences came to a head in July 1997 when Rannaridh was ousted by Hun Sen in a bloody coup d'état which saw some of Prince Ranariddh's supporters being killed, and his house looted.

After initially fleeing the country, Prince Ranariddh returned to Cambodia to participate in the national elections held in 1998. Because campaigning freely was not allowed, his party suffered heavy losses yet managed to form a new coalition with Hun Sen and Prince Ranariddh became Chairman of the Cambodian National Assembly.

When King Norodom Sihanouk abdicated in October 2004, Ranariddh was a likely choice for king owing to his popularity. However, he renounced his interest in the post, and later that month he was part of the nine-member throne council which convened and chose Norodom Sihamoni to be the next king.

He was chairman of the Funcinpec political party but was removed by a party vote on 18 October 2006, which was led by once his closest advisor and general Gen. Nhek Bun Chhay.

Subsequently he established the Norodom Ranariddh Party (NRP), which outpolled Funcinpec and is currently the third largest party in Cambodia.[4] In the 2008 national election his new party won two seats in the national assembly.

Return from exile[edit]

Monarchical styles of
Norodom Ranariddh
Coat of arms of Cambodia.svg
Reference style His Royal Highness
Spoken style Your Royal Highness
Alternative style Sir
Prince Norodom Ranariddh speaking with interviewers from the Voice of America in February 2014.

After Prime Minister Hun Sen was re-elected in the 2008 Cambodian elections, King Norodom Sihamoni granted a royal pardon upon the request of the re-elected Prime Minister. Ranariddh had been sentenced in absentia to 18 months imprisonment in March 2007 in a political show trial over a US$3.6 million property sale. The court ruled he improperly sold his former political party headquarters and used proceeds from the sale to purchase another property in his own name. The building had actually been part of the house of his father-in-law, Eng Meas (who had been murdered by the Communists), and had been given to him and his wife in 1991 because his own house was occupied by a Russian diplomat who did not want to vacate it.

When he returned, half of the house became the party headquarters, and he lived in the other half. All serious commentators on Cambodia viewed the court ruling as a political move to try to remove the influence of Prince Ranariddh and force him from the country, and this is what happened. Shortly after he was pardoned, he read out a letter on television thanking King Sihamoni, his half brother, for giving him "full freedom in order to join in the development of the nation." The prince also thanked Prime Minister Hun Sen for helping to arrange the royal pardon for him and said that he would return to Cambodia soon: he subsequently returned, and has retired from politics taking part in promoting charity work in the country partly through the Norodom Ranariddh Foundation.

On 12 December 2008, King Norodom Sihamoni selected him as chief advisor of his advisory court, the Privy Council[3] President of the Supreme Privy Council to HM the King of Kingdom of Cambodia with the rank of Prime Minister.[4]

Prince Norodom Ranariddh has formed a new party called the Community of Royalist People's Party to contest in future elections.[5]


Ranariddh has had two wives:

  1. Princess Eng Marie to whom he married in 1968,[6] with whom he had 2 sons and one daughter.[7] The couple formally divorced in 2009.[8]
  2. Ouk Phalla, a former classical dancer with the Royal Ballet (and a member of the Royal family through the Sisowath line) with whom he has two sons.

Before he was pardoned, he was living in Kuala Lumpur with his second wife and his son, Prince Norodom Sothearidh. Prince Norodom Ranavong was born in December 2011. [9]


  1. ^ "Cambodian prince returns to politics". Channel NewsAsia. 16 March 2014. Retrieved 17 March 2014. 
  2. ^ Norodom Ranariddh - Biography
  3. ^ [1] His official title is Samdech Krom Preah Norodom Ranariddh
  4. ^ [2]
  5. ^ Heng, Reaksmey (25 February 2014). "Prince Ranariddh Planning To Form New Royal Party". VOA. Retrieved 25 February 2014. 
  6. ^ Widyono (2008), p. 278
  7. ^ Court starts adultery case against Cambodian Prince Ranariddh, March 18, 2007, People's Daily Online
  8. ^ Sex and punishment: Cambodia’s adultery law, 28 October 2010, The Phnom Penh post
  9. ^ [3]
Royal Family of Cambodia
Royal Arms of Cambodia

HM The King


  • Widyono, Benny, Dancing in Shadows: Sihanouk, the Khmer Rouge, and the United Nations in Cambodia, Rowman & Littlefield, 2008, ISBN 0742555534

External links[edit]

Political offices
Preceded by
Hun Sen
Prime Minister of Cambodia
Succeeded by
Ung Huot
Preceded by
Chea Sim
President of the National Assembly of Cambodia
Succeeded by
Heng Samrin
Party political offices
New office President of the Community of Royalist People's Party
New office President of the Norodom Ranariddh Party
Succeeded by
Chhim Siek Leng
Preceded by
Nhiek Tioulong
President of the Funcinpec Party
Succeeded by
Keo Puth Rasmey