Cambodia’s Sam Rainsy could be stronger after CNRP split

In an opinion piece published this week, analysts Romdoul Chetra and Meng Seavmey posed an interesting question: Who is more hurt by the apparent split of Cambodia’s opposition leaders, Kem Sokha or Sam Rainsy? 

At first glance, it would appear to be Rainsy. He cannot re-enter Cambodia, as his failed 2019 bid to do so showed. He has put off some supporters in recent years by his erratic comments, not least those against King Norodom Sihamoni.

Seng Sary, a political analyst, has suggested that Sokha might now be trying to purge the Cambodia National Rescue Party (CNRP) of Rainsy and his faction, perhaps a prerequisite for gaining clemency from Prime Minister Hun Sen over his treason charge, which Sokha picked up when arrested in September 2017, just before the forced dissolution of his and Rainsy’s opposition CNRP.

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