|Leader of the Opposition|
30 November 1998
|Prime Minister||Hun Sen|
|President of the CNRP|
17 July 2012
|Member of the National Assembly|
|Constituency||Siem Reap (1993-1998)
Kampong Cham (1998-2008)
|Minister of Finance|
May 1993 – October 1994
|Prime Minister||Norodom Ranariddh|
10 March 1949 |
Phnom Penh, Cambodia
|Political party||CNRP (2012-present)|
Sam Rainsy was born in Phnom Penh in 1949. He moved to France in 1965, studied there and then worked as an investment manager and executive director in a variety of Parisian financial companies. He became a member of the Funcinpec Party, and after returning to Cambodia in 1992 was elected a member of parliament for Siem Reap Province the following year. He became Minister of Finance, but was expelled from the party after losing a vote of no-confidence in 1994. In 1995, he founded the Khmer Nation Party (KNP), which changed its name before the 1998 elections to the Sam Rainsy Party (SRP) to avoid registration issues.  Sam was elected a member of parliament for Kompong Cham province in those elections, and the party polled 14% of the vote. In the 2003 elections, it polled 22% of the vote.
Sam Rainsy went into self-imposed exile on 3 February 2005, citing fear of arrest after a vote in the National Assembly removed parliamentary immunity from himself and fellow SRP MPs Chea Poch and Cheam Channy. On that same day, Parliamentarian Cheam Channy was arrested, and detained in the Cambodian Military Prison. Sam faced multiple criminal defamation charges after accusing the Cambodian People's Party and Funcinpec of corruption in the formation of the current coalition government. He has also accused Prime Minister Hun Sen of involvement in the 22 January 2004 murder of SRP-affiliated union leader Chea Vichea.
At that time, the US Embassy in Phnom Penh said it was "deeply concerned" that the government appeared to be trying to "silence the opposition". Other embassies, local and international organizations shared the same concerns. Sam was tried in absentia on 22 December 2005 in relation to the defamation lawsuits. The court sentenced him to 18 months in prison and ordered him to pay around US$14,000 in fines and compensation. On 5 February 2006, Rainsy received a Royal Pardon by King Norodom Sihamoni at Prime Minister Hun Sen's request. He then returned to Cambodia on 10 February 2006.
In October 2009, Rainsy led local residents at the Cambodia-Vietnam border in a protest against alleged Vietnamese encroachment on Cambodian territory, in which he was alleged to have encouraged villagers to uproot border markings he claimed to have been illegally placed by Vietnam. In 2009, Vietnam’s foreign ministry condemned Sam Rainsy’s actions and asked the government to protect the nations’ ongoing border demarcation process. The statement called Sam Rainsy’s act “perverse, undermining common assets, violating laws of Cambodia and Vietnam, treaties, agreements and deals between the two countries”.
On October 25, Rainsy was charged with racial incitement and destruction of property, and the Cambodian parliament stripped Rainsy of his immunity from prosecution in November. Rainsy was issued a summons to appear in court for a hearing. On January 1, 2010, the Svay Rieng provincial court issued an arrest warrant for Rainsy after he failed to appear in court. Rainsy had fled the country at this point and was residing in France in self-imposed exile. In September 2010, Rainsy was tried in absentia and sentenced to 10 years in prison for charges widely believed to be politically motivated.
On July 12, 2013, King Norodom Sihamoni granted a royal pardon to Rainsy at the request of Prime Minister Hun Sen, allowing the opposition leader to return to Cambodia without threat of imprisonment, although he remained ineligible for candidacy in the July 28, 2013 general election. Rainsy returned to Cambodia on July 19, 2013.
Sam Rainsy's father, Sam Sary had served as a minister in the Education, planning and finance portfolios before becoming a Deputy Prime Minister in Sihanouk's government in the 1950s. Sam Rainsy's mother, In Em was quoted to be the first Cambodian woman to have completed the Baccalauréat exam. Sam Sary fled the country in 1959 when Sam Rainsy was ten for suspected involvement in the Bangkok Plot, while his mother was thrown into prison. Sam Rainsy's grandfather, Sam Nhean had served as the President of the Royal Council of Cambodia and was a prominent member of the Democratic Party (Cambodia) in the 1940s.
Sam Rainsy is married to Tioulong Samura, who is also member of parliament for his current party, and has three children: Patrice Sam, Muriel Sam and Rachel Sam. Tioulong Samura's father, Nhiek Tioulong was a military general who founded the Khmer Renovation party and briefly served as an Acting Prime Minister in 1962. Both Sam Rainsy and his wife claimed to have Chinese ancestry, the former having revealed that one of his great-great grandfathers was a Chinese immigrant, while Nhiek Tioulong revealed that he had a Chinese grandfather during a dialogue session with Zhou Enlai in 1954.
- Economics (Science Po)
- Business Administration (Master of Business Administration from INSEAD - Fontainebleau - France) - 1980.
- Accounting (Diplôme d'Etudes Comptables Supérieures issued by the French Ministry of Education) - 1979.
- Economics (Maîtrise + Diplôme d'Etudes Supérieures de Sciences Economiques de la Faculté de Droit et des Sciences Economiques de Paris) - 1973.
- Political Science (Diplôme de l'Institut d'Etudes Politiques de Paris) - 1971.
- Brown, Zasloff (1998), p. 240
- Cambodia: Opposition Politicians Arrested, Forced to Flee, February 7, 2005, Human Rights Watch
- Sam Rainsy urges Cambodia to support China's claims to South China Sea, 24 January 2012, The Cambodia Herald.com
- MESSAGE DE VŒUX DU PRESIDENT SAM RAINSY A TOUS LES CAMBODGIENS DE DESCENDANCE CHINOISE A L’OCCASION DU NOUVEL AN CHINOIS, 21 January 2012, Official website of Sam Rainsy party (retrieved 7 June 2012)
- Bulletin: Inside China's Cold War – Document No. 79, Minutes of Conversation between Zhou Enlai and Cambodian Foreign Minister Tep Phan (Summary), 20 July 1954
- Brown, MacAlister Brown; Zasloff, Joseph Jermiah; Cambodia Confounds the Peacemakers, 1979-1998, Cornell University Press, 1998, ISBN 0801435366
- Sam Rainsy Party homepage
- BBC profile of Rainsy
- BBC: "Cambodia opposition calls on king"
- BBC: "Sam Rainsy appeal on Cambodia"