Norodom Ranariddh is a Cambodian royal politician and law academic. He is the second son of Norodom Sihanouk of Cambodia and a half-brother of the current king, Norodom Sihamoni. Ranariddh is the president of FUNCINPEC, a Cambodian royalist party. He was also the First Prime Minister of Cambodia following the restoration of the monarchy, serving between 1993 and 1997, and subsequently as the President of the National Assembly between 1998 and 2006.
Ranariddh was a graduate of the University of Provence and started his career as a law researcher and lecturer in France. In 1983, he joined FUNCINPEC and in 1986 became the chief of staff and commander-in-chief of Armée nationale sihanoukiste. Ranariddh became Secretary-General of FUNCINPEC in 1989, and its president in 1992. When FUNCINPEC won the 1993 Cambodian general election, it formed a coalition government with the Cambodian People's Party , which was jointly headed by two concurrently serving prime ministers. Ranariddh became the First Prime Minister of Cambodia while Hun Sen, who was from the CPP, became the Second Prime Minister. As the First Prime Minister, Ranariddh promoted business interests in Cambodia to leaders from regional countries and established the Cambodian Development Council .
From early 1996, relations between Ranariddh and Hun Sen deteriorated as Ranariddh complained of unequal distribution of government authority between FUNCINPEC and the CPP. Subsequently, both leaders publicly argued over issues such as the implementation of construction projects, signing of property development contracts, and their rival alliances with the Khmer Rouge. In July 1997, a major clash between troops separately aligned to FUNCINPEC and the CPP took place, forcing Ranariddh into exile. The following month, Ranariddh was ousted from his position as First Prime Minister. He returned to Cambodia in March 1998, and led his party in the 1998 Cambodian general election. When FUNCINPEC lost the elections to the CPP, Ranariddh, after initially challenging the results, became President of the National Assembly in November 1998. He was seen as a potential successor to Sihanouk as the King of Cambodia, until in 2001 he renounced his interest in the succession. As the President of the National Assembly, Ranariddh was one of the nine members of the throne council which in 2004 selected Sihamoni as Sihanouk's successor.
In March 2006, Ranariddh resigned as the President of the National Assembly and in October 2006 was ousted as President of FUNCINPEC. The following month, he founded the Norodom Ranariddh Party . After accusations of embezzlement and adultery he went into exile again, and in March 2007 was convicted in absentia of embezzlement and sentenced to 18 months' imprisonment. After being pardoned in September 2008 and returning to Cambodia, Ranariddh announced his retirement from politics, but resumed the NRP leadership in December 2010. He failed to merge the NRP and FUNCINPEC, and retired again, but in March 2014 re-emerged to launch the Community of Royalist People's Party . In January 2015, Ranariddh dissolved the CRPP and returned to FUNCINPEC. He was subsequently re-elected to the FUNCINPEC presidency.