|Leader of the Opposition|
July 26, 1998 – July 27, 2008
|Prime Minister||Hun Sen|
|Preceded by||Position established|
|Succeeded by||Kem Sokha|
|President of the Cambodia National Rescue Party|
July 12, 2012
|Vice President||Kem Sokha|
|Preceded by||Position established|
|President of the Sam Rainsy Party|
1998 – July 12, 2012
|Preceded by||Position established|
|Succeeded by||Kong Korm|
|Member of the National Assembly|
September 24, 1993 – July 27, 2008
|Constituency||Siem Reap (1993-1998)
Kampong Cham (1998-2008)
|Minister of Economy and Finance|
May 1993 – October 1994
|Prime Minister||Norodom Ranariddh|
March 10, 1949 |
Phnom Penh, Indochina
|Political party||Cambodia National Rescue (2012–present)|
|Sam Rainsy Party (1998-2012)
Khmer Nation Party (1995-1998)
|Relations||Sam Nhean (grandfather)
Sam Sary (father)
Nhiek Tioulong (father-in-law)
|Website||Sam Rainsy Party
Sam Rainsy (Facebook)
Sam Rainsy (Khmer: សម រង្ស៊ី IPA: [sɑːm reə̯̆ŋsiː]; born March 10, 1949) is a Cambodian politician who was the Leader of the Opposition in the National Assembly from 1998 to 2008. Currently the President of the Cambodia National Rescue Party (CNRP), which was formed as a merger between the Human Rights Party and Sam Rainsy Party in 2012, he was previously a member of the Funcinpec Party and served as the Minister of Economy and Finance during Norodom Ranariddh's administration from 1993 to 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. He was elected member of parliament for Kampong Cham that same year.
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. Rainsy 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.
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 2013 general election. Rainsy returned to Cambodia on July 19, 2013 where thousands of his supporters waited along the roads. The CNRP gained 55 seats in the National Assembly although Sam Rainsy and Kem Sokha have denied these results and accused the ruling party of poll fraud. The opposition boycotted parliament in September 2013, and vows not to lift the boycott until a legitimate electoral reform.
Life and career
Sam Rainsy was born in Phnom Penh on March 10, 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. In the 2003 elections, it polled 22% of the vote.
At that time, the U.S. 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. He was pardoned by King Norodom Sihamoni in July 2013 and returned to Cambodia on July 19, 2013.
In April 2014, Rainsy talked on the phone with Prime Minister Hun Sen, regarding the political deadlock which had gripped Cambodia since July 2013. Rainsy and Sen reached an agreement to hold early polls in February 2018 instead of the usual elections in July. The deal will be signed before the King but the opposition leader said it was only "80 percent completed" and had to wait for his deputy Kem Sokha to return from the United States.
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 in the 1940s.
Sam Rainsy is married to Tioulong Saumura (since 1971), 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 claim 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.
- Cambodia: Opposition Politicians Arrested, Forced to Flee, February 7, 2005, Human Rights Watch
- "Cambodia: Opposition Leader Convicted in Absentia". The New York Times. 23 September 2010. Retrieved 17 February 2014.
- Vong Sokheng (18 July 2013). "NEC reiterates Rainsy’s ineligibility". The Phnom Penh Post. Retrieved 17 February 2014.
- "Opposition leader Sam Rainsy returns to Cambodia". BBC News. 19 July 2013. Retrieved 17 February 2014.
- "Cambodian opposition rejects Hun Sen election win". The Telegraph. 29 July 2013. Retrieved 20 February 2014.
- "King Convenes Cambodia's Parliament Amid Opposition Boycott". Radio Free Asia. 23 September 2013. Retrieved 20 February 2014.
- Heng Reaksmey and Men Kimseng/VOA Khmer (7 March 2014). "Opposition Standing Firm on Election Reform Demand". VOA. Retrieved 7 March 2014.
- Brown, Zasloff (1998), p. 240
- "Hun Sen Agrees to Hold Early Election, Wants Deal Signed Before King". Radio Free Asia. 10 April 2014. Retrieved 11 April 2014.
- 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"