The Cambodian Assembly stripped Sam Rainsy of his seat in the Assembly citing his criminal convictions. After being sentenced to prison for 2 years and then for 12 years in two heavily disputed trials this move by the powers that be did not come as a surprise.
In a telephone interview Sam Rainsy stated as much but indicated that he will come back to participate in the 2013 elections. He is not exactly known as that typical come-back kid but he certainly does not appear to ever give up. He always gets up again like a rubber doll. He also vowed that he would continue to lead his party from Paris – a party that is seemingly in some sort of limbo and could urgently do with some form of leadership. That party does not know which direction to take and Sam Rainsy doesn’t know how to handle any of these imbroglios that have come up in his political career. It has been reiterated in many a publication that his intransigence, really stubbornness, won’t get him anywhere within the current power structure. Although he indicated there might be a deal with the CPP for his return before the elections, he did not specifically mention Hun Sen; but Hun Sen is the only person who could pave the way for him. His party asked the King for a royal pardon, which again only demonstrates the sheer helplessness the party finds itself in. The King pardons on recommendations from the Prime Minister and that recommendation has not been reported anywhere.
He said he still has wide support among Cambodians and the international community. One might be a little doubtful about the scope of that support. Banking on the international community is an exercise in futility, as he might have realized by now. The example of Libya has made it once again abundantly clear how reluctant the big powers are to intervene in another nation’s internal affairs; only Ghaddafi’s threats of no mercy and attacks on civilians finally brought about the armed international intervention. Nobody in his right mind, though, can compare Libya with Cambodia. Any help Sam Rainsy might be hoping for will simply not be forthcoming. The international community has more pressing, and seemingly never-ending, problems to deal with than reinstating a politician who has fallen from grace. He has simply become a non-person in Cambodia. Personally, as an interested bystander I don’t believe that he will be allowed back under some kind of political deal this time around. I would be very surprised if that were to happen. So in the end losing his assembly seat certainly looks like the coup de grace to his political career in Cambodia.