Opposition leader Sam Rainsy has waded into the Twittersphere, using his first tweet to congratulate US President-elect Donald Trump on his victory, and later calling on the few Cambodians who use the site to register to vote in next year’s commune elections.
Rainsy confirmed in an email that he was behind the @RainsySam account, which was opened in 2013 but made its first post on Friday. Asked why he had begun using Twitter, which has a very small user base of Cambodians, he replied: “New audience besides Facebook.”
He did not respond to questions about whether the decision was influenced by scathing tweets late last month by Kem Monovithya, the opposition’s deputy head of public affairs, who used the site to call him “Peter Pan” and say that he should “at least make [his] lies sound believable”.
Rainsy has since Friday actively used the account to respond to tweets about him. He also “favorited” a tweet referring to a decree last month banning him from Cambodia that said: “It’s like the part of the break-up where you block him out of your life. (But you know you’re gonna want him back.)”
During the 2013 election, Rainsy relied heavily on Facebook posts to break the government’s stranglehold on media, and now boasts 3.3 million followers on the site – far more than the 142 followers he has racked up on Twitter since Friday.