Despite his party’s pledge to refrain from personal attacks on the ruling party and its leader, Prime Minister Hun Sen, self-exiled opposition leader Sam Rainsy couldn’t help but take a jab at his “coward” of a competitor while speaking in Canada at the weekend.
Addressing supporters in Montreal, the Cambodia National Rescue Party president employed a boxing metaphor to describe what he says is the premier’s strategy of selecting smaller opponents in political fights, suggesting only he, and the CNRP, are of an equal weight class to make the coming elections a meaningful bout.
“To make the election meaningful, to make it worthy, there needs to be the presence of both the party presidents fighting on Cambodian territory,” Rainsy told the crowd, before having a dig at the premier, who he later said acted like a big old man claiming victory over a small child in the boxing ring.
“The one who does not let Sam Rainsy return, he is afraid of Sam Rainsy. He is a coward. If he was brave . . . he would fight one on one.”
Rainsy, who in November reneged on a pledge to return and contest charges that could see him jailed, again vowed to come back before the 2018 elections despite facing prison time.
He also called for Cambodians abroad to shun efforts by the ruling party to increase its popularity overseas, saying if the government was serious about courting the diaspora, they would allow them to vote.
Rejecting Rainsy’s case as political and taking issue with his fighting words, CPP spokesman Sous Yara said no one was stopping the CNRP president from returning to Cambodia.