July 19 will mark one year since opposition leader Sam Rainsy returned from years of self-imposed exile in Paris after being granted a royal pardon for an 11-year jail sentence, paving the way to his party’s unprecedented gains in national elections just over a week later.
According to a high-level Cambodia National Rescue Party source, Rainsy, who is currently abroad in Europe, is expected to time his return to Cambodia to coincide with that anniversary, a move that could see thousands again throng the airport as they did a year ago.
“The party will arrange the one-year anniversary of Mr Sam Rainsy’s arrival and thousands of people will go to greet [him] at the airport on the 19th in the same way that they did on July 19 last year,” said the official, who requested anonymity.
But CNRP spokesman Yem Ponharith said that plans for an anniversary celebration were yet to be organised and that a return date for Rainsy had not been set.
Rainsy himself denied the claim in an email: “There is no such plan,” he said.