Cambodia prince hurt, wife killed in crash | News | DW | 17.06.2018
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Cambodia prince hurt, wife killed in crash

Prince Norodom Ranariddh, a ex-prime minister, was on his way to meet supporters when a taxi struck his car. Ranariddh has long had an uneasy relationship with Cambodia's strongman Hun Sen.

Norodom Ranariddh, a prince of Cambodia as well as former prime minister, was severely injured in a car crash on Sunday on the way to a campaign even in the southwest of the country.

The collision between a taxi his SUV, which was carrying several senior members of his FUNCINPEC party, killed his wife and fellow political candidate Ouk Phalla.

The group had been on their way to meet supporters in the town of Sihanoukville. According to the local police chief, Prince Ranariddh had been rushed to a hospital in the capital Phnom Penh to treat his head wounds.

Since 1993, Cambodia has had one of the world's rare elected democracies. Kings are elected for life from members of the two royal families of Cambodia. While the king is a figurehead with little political power, he serves as a unifying figure for a nation that is deeply divided politically.

Ranariddh is the son of the very popular late King Norodom Sihanouk and half-brother of the current King Norodom Sihamoni.

Outmaneuvered by Hun Sen

Ranariddh also served as co-prime minister for four years in an uneasy alliance with Hun Sen, the strongman who has run Cambodia for twenty years and made it increasingly difficult for his political opponents to try and unseat him.

In 1997, tensions between men loyal to Hun Sen and those loyal to Ranariddh broke out into spates of violence and Ranariddh temporarily fled abroad and the FUNCINPEC party was co-opted by Hun Sen.

A steady clampdown on opposition voices has all but ensured Hun Sen another electoral victory when Cambodia has general elections next month.

es/rc (AP, dpa)

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