March, Cremation for Ranariddh Set for Wednesday

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Prince Norodom Ranariddh. (Funcinpec’s Facebook page)
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The king will light the fire for late Prince Norodom Ranariddh’s cremation on Wednesday after supporters, politicians and diplomats are expected to join a march and funeral for the former prime minister.

The body of Ranariddh, who was elected first co-prime minister in 1993, arrived in Cambodia on Sunday and is currently being kept at his residence in the Boeung Raing commune of Daun Penh district.

Funcinpec spokesman Nhoeun Raden told VOD on Monday that the king and queen mother had come that morning to show their respects, while Prime Minister Hun Sen and other government officials were expected in the afternoon.

Tuesday will similarly be set aside for Ranariddh’s family to receive guests. On Wednesday, mourners will begin a procession at 7 a.m. to take the prince’s body to Wat Botum for cremation. King Norodom Sihanouk will light the fire, Raden said.

The spokesman added that the prince’s body has had a stream of mourners since Sunday.

“There are guests from embassies and private companies. There are many,” he said. “Since the prince’s body arrived, we have seen people along the streets with sad appearances come to accompany the prince’s body. Especially, on the day of the body’s march, we expect that more people will participate in marching with the prince’s body and show their respects to the prince for the last time.”

Ranariddh, formerly the chief adviser of king father Norodom Sihanouk, led a turbulent political career, winning the plurality of votes in 1993 but forced to share the prime ministership with Hun Sen. After factional fighting in 1997 that some have called a coup against him, Ranariddh and his royalist Funcinpec party gradually declined in relevance.

Despite that, Raden noted Ranariddh’s many accomplishments for the country.

“What the prince built up for the nation, especially the peace and the current development, is a lot. The loss of Samdech Krom Preah at this time, we consider the loss of an outstanding figure, the loss of a most outstanding member of the royal family, who for almost all of his life sacrificed for the nation, religion and the king,” he said, using an honorific title for Ranariddh.

On Monday, speaking at an inauguration ceremony in Prey Veng province, Hun Sen said that he and other senior government officials would go show their respects to the prince’s soul on Monday and participate again on Wednesday for the cremation as fit for a former prime minister.

“We have to do this properly. On Wednesday the eighth is the mourning day,” Hun Sen said.

The Interior Ministry’s bodyguard department on Monday met with City Hall officials to plan security for the Wednesday march and funeral.

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