Banned Opposition Party Sets September For Sam Rainsy Return to Cambodia

Cambodia’s exiled acting opposition chief Sam Rainsy has agreed to return to the country in September, following a decision by fellow party executives to go home to restore democracy in the authoritarian Southeast Asian country, while the government said it has arrest warrants ready for him.

Sam Rainsy left Cambodia in late 2015 to avoid what are seen as politically motivated convictions on defamation and other charges, and ceded control of the Cambodia National Rescue Party (CNRP) to then-vice president Kem Sokha as part of a bid to prevent the government from shutting down the opposition party.

In September 2017, Kem Sokha was arrested over an alleged plot to topple the government, and the Supreme Court dissolved the CNRP two months later, leaving Prime Minister Hun Sen’s Cambodian People’s Party (CPP) with no viable challenger in a general election last July that saw the ruling party win all 125 parliamentary seats up for voting.

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