Sam Rainsy is one of the most internationally respected politician and pro-democracy activist in Cambodia today. Born into a powerful family in the capital of his homeland, Rainsy grew up with the future king and several political leaders. After his country was invaded and the government disrupted, a divisive fallout ensued which led to Rainsy and his family fleeing to Europe. A hard working student he was educated from a series of prestigious schools. He used his education to enter the world of finance and economics, where he rapidly prospered. Back in his homeland, the political situation stabilized, and he was able to return home to participate in the government. After the winds of revolution blew once more, he returned to exile in Europe. Following numerous convictions and accusations followed by royal pardons, he was able to return to his homeland to form the backbone of a democratic opposition to the misrule of the leading party. After high level intervention by international leaders, he was permitted to advocate for democracy and financial transparency, although not without much resistance from ruling factions. Although elderly, Rainsy continues to be a stalwart defender of freedom in his homeland today and hopes to change his country into a fully functional democratic nation under his political leadership
- Sam Rainsy was born on March 19, 1949 in Phnom Penh, Cambodia. His father was named Sam Sary, who had served as Deputy Prime Minister of Cambodia in the 1950s. His mother was named In Em.In 1965, his family moved to France after his mother was arrested and his father disappeared after government charges that he had been involved in an attempted coup d’état. He attended primary school in Paris, France before attending the prestigious ‘Lycee Janson de Sailly high school.He graduated from ‘L'Institut d'etudes politiques’ in Paris, France with a degree in Political Science in 1971. He received a degree in Economics two years later, from the ‘Faculte de droit et des sciences economiques’ in Paris, France.He received a degree in Accounting from the ‘French Ministry of Education’ in 1979. The following year, he was awarded a ‘Master of Business Administration’ from INSEAD in Fountainebleau, France.Career
- In 1989, he was elected by Prince Norodom Ranariddh to be his European representative. In France, he worked briefly as an investment banker before opening his own accounting firm.In 1992, Rainsy joined the ‘Funcincpec Party’ in Cambodia. A year later, he was elected to the Parliament in Cambodia, representing Siem Reap Province, and served two years.While in office, he served as the Minister of Economy and Finance of Cambodia from September 24, 1993 to October 24, 1994.In 1994, he was expelled from the ‘Funcincpec Party’ after a vote of no confidence. Then he founded the ‘Khmer Nation Party’, a year later.In 1997, he was injured during a grenade attack at a political rally. Close to sixteen people died and more than a thousand were injured in the attack.In 1998, he was elected as a ‘Member of Parliament for Kampong Chan Province’, a position that he continues to hold today. The same year, he changed the name of the ‘Khmer Nation Party’ to the ‘Sam Rainsy Party’.In 2005, he left Cambodia and was tried in absentia on a number of defamation charges and was sentenced to 18 months in prison.He was pardoned by King Norodom Sihamoni and on February 10, 2006 Rainsy returned to Cambodia.In 2008, Rainsy published his autobiography 'Des racines dans la pierre: Mon combat pour la renaissance du Cambodge'.On October 25, 2009, he was charged with racial incitement and destruction of property for leading a protest at the border of Cambodia and Vietnam.On January 1, 2010 he left Cambodia for France and an arrest warrant was issued for him. Two years later, he stepped down from the ‘Sam Rainsy Party’ to become the president of the ‘Cambodia National Rescue Party’.In 2013, Rainsy co-authored his English-language autobiography 'We Didn't Start the Fire: My Struggle for Democracy in Cambodia'. The same year he toured the United States to raise funds towards supporting his political career in Cambodia.In July 2013, King Norodom Sihamoni pardoned Rainsy, and he returned to Cambodia a week later.In 2014, after a lengthy negotiation with several political parties in Cambodia, he was accepted as a member of parliament although he had not participated in the 2013 election. He was given the title ‘Minority Leader’ of the parliament, a position he currently holds.Rainsy continues to be the most powerful opposition politician in Cambodia today.Major Works
- Sam Rainsy is an internationally respected spokesperson for democracy, capitalism and fairness in government while his homeland of Cambodia struggles with coups, revolutions, invasions and regicide.Personal Life & Legacy
- Sam Rainsy married his wife Tioulong Saumura in 1971 and they have three children, Patrice Sam, Muriel Sam and Rachel Sam.Trivia
- This famous political activist is a practicing Buddhism and claims that both he and his wife are of Chinese ancestry. According to him he has survived many assassination attempts, including when he was living in exile in France.He speaks three languages fluently - Cambodian, French and English. He has famously stated that his native Cambodia is a 'mafia state'
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