Increased Expectations in Phnom Penh, Concerns about Potential Political Violence, as Politics in Cambodia Churn

Sam Rainsy has been in exile since 2015, when an arrest warrant was issued for him, causing him to remain in self-imposed exile. Since then, Cambodian courts have found him guilty on multiple charges, which he says are trumped up.

Political tensions are simmering in Cambodia. While most people are going about their everyday lives, there is an undercurrent of apprehension. Saturday is the day longtime opposition leader Sam Rainsy pegged as he planned date to return to Cambodia, potentially ending nearly four years of exile.

Sitting recently in the shade of his Indian-made tuktuk, Sam Nimol is worried things are about to get worse. The 31-year-old resident of Phnom Penh’s Tuol Kork district expects two scenarios. Either Sam Rainsy comes peacefully or there will be a negotiated resolution.

But, if the outspoken politician is arrested, Sam Nimol worries, a confrontational situation could get violent, directly impacting the people’s livelihoods.

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