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Cambodia

Sam Rainsy stakes credibility on an unlikely return

The patience of the long-suffering supporters of his banned Cambodian National Rescue Party is wearing thin

Lule Hunt, Phnom Penh

Lule Hunt, Phnom Penh

Updated: November 05, 2019 05:28 AM GMT
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Sam Rainsy stakes credibility on an unlikely return

Opposition leader Sam Rainsy has failed to deliver on promises to save Cambodian democracy many times. (Photo by Luke Hunt)

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Sam Rainsy has carefully crafted a career as the antagonistic thorn in the side of Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen, cultivating the image of a leader in waiting, wronged by political injustices and cheated at the ballot box.

It’s a persona hyped on blood and protest, and backed by many in the Khmer diaspora abroad and the conservative right wing of the Republicans in Washington.

They will be keenly watching on Nov. 9, Cambodia’s Independence Day, when the former banking executive says he will lead a “tsunami of supporters” into Cambodia, arrest Hun Sen and rescue Cambodia from one-party rule.

Speaking from his home in Paris, in a video posted online, he said: “This may just be the last time that you see me alive as a free man.”

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