Sam Rainsy Return Hype Ripples Across ASEAN

Even though the opposition leader’s return to Cambodia itself may be unlikely, his loudly trumpeted voyage has sparked headlines across the region.

The loudly trumpeted return of opposition leader Sam Rainsy to Cambodia is causing headaches across Southeast Asia, even though his chances of getting across the border and sparking a popular rebellion are quite low.

The former banking executive with an aversion for prison and political martyrdom, who spends most of his time at home in Paris, no doubt knows this himself. He is also well aware that the United States and Western countries are focusing on trade sanctions for Cambodia, while Europe is considering the removal of trade preferences, all in retaliation for last year’s election which banned Sam Rainsy from contesting.

That’s precisely why the hype around his return on Saturday, Independence Day in Cambodia, matters.

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