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Ranariddhs reach a settlement

PHNOM Penh Municipal Court has approved the divorce of Prince Norodom Ranariddh and Princess Marie Norodom Ranariddh, and ruled that the latter is entitled to half of the former Funcinpec president’s estate, court officials said Wednesday.

Chev Keng, the court’s president, said the decision was handed down on Tuesday after the couple agreed to a reconciliation deal.

“The court decided to issue the verdict of divorce after the two parties reached an agreement to share the property,” he said.

Liv Sovanna, the lawyer for Norodom Ranariddh, declined to comment on the ruling on Wednesday, describing it as a “personal issue”.

Chea Chanboribo, the prince’s personal spokesman, declined to comment beyond saying that Norodom Ranariddh is currently travelling “back and forth” between homes in Malaysia and Phnom Penh.

Norodom Ranariddh filed for divorce from Princess Marie in 2006 after meeting and falling in love with Ouk Phalla, with whom he now has a son. Ouk Phalla, a former dancer with the Royal ballet, was at the time married to former Funcinpec minister Veng Sereyvuth.

Originally elected president of Funcinpec in 1992, Norodom Ranariddh led the party to a stunning victory in the UNTAC-sponsored elections in May 1993, at which point he became first prime minister. He was ousted as a result of factional fighting with the Cambodian People’s Party in 1997.

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