Prince Norodom Sirivudh announced Monday that he has retired from the world of politics.
The prince’s announcement comes shortly after his nephew Prince Norodom Ranariddh announced his own departure from the political arena, and seems to represent what may be the end of direct involvement in politics by members of the royal family.
“The retired King [Norodom Sihanouk] has said that he would like royal family members to stop doing politics and let political parties do work in politics and compete in the election,” Prince Sirivudh told reporters in Phnom Penh.
He added that his sister, former Funcinpec lawmaker Princess Norodom Vicheara, has also decided to leave politics behind to support the retired King.
“I won’t do politics, but it does not mean that I won’t pay any attention to big national issues. Simple people also have the right to question the government, the National Assembly about big national issues,” he said, adding: “I don’t belong to any [political] party, and I will serve the country within the framework of being a royal family member: To serve the monarchy and the country with honesty.”
Named minister of Foreign Affairs following Funcinpec’s victory in the 1993 election, Prince Sirivudh stood out as one of the senior leaders of the royalist political movement, but became one of its more controversial figures after resigning from the post the following year to protest the removal of Sam Rainsy as Finance minister.
In 1995, the prince was arrested, accused of being involved in a plot to assassinate then-second prime minister Hun Sen. Through the intervention of Norodom Sihanouk, the prince was allowed to leave the country and remained in exile until 1999.
Prince Sirivudh became Secretary-General of Funcinpec in 2001 and was named co-Minister of Interior in 2004. But just two years later, the prince was stripped of the co-ministership and resigned his party post. He continued to serve as a lawmaker until this year, but had announced ahead of the July election that he did not intend to stand for Parliament again.