07/19/2013, 00.00
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Cambodia, dissident Sam Rainsy returns to challenge Hun Sen in elections

In 2010 he was sentenced to 10 years in prison in absentia: he has been living in self-imposed exile in France. The government has pardoned him to allow him participate in the general elections, planned on July 28. On his return he declares: "I'm back to save the country."

Phnom Penh (AsiaNews / Agencies) - Sam Rainsy, leader of the Cambodian opposition, has returned to Phnom Penh for the elections to be held on July 28th. Thousands of supporters greeted his arrival in the capital.  Since 2009 he has lived in France, in voluntary exile, and in 2010 he was sentenced in absentia to 10 years in prison for manipulating documents and public information.

Rainsy has always denied any wrongdoing, claiming that Prime Minister Hun Sen used the judicial system to eliminate the opposition, the Cambodia National Rescue Party.

On 12 July, the government granted clemency to Rainsy, thus allowing him to participate in elections. "I'm back to save the country - said the leader of the opposition greeting supporters who were waiting for him at the airport - I'm happy to be here."

On 28 July, Ramsey's Cambodia National Rescue Party will challenge the Cambodian People's Party of Hun Sen. According to analysts, Sen's victory is already secured. He is one of the longest-running prime ministers in the world, being in power in Cambodia since 1985.


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