Cambodia's prime minister, Hun Sen, has engineered a pardon for his most prominent rival, who has been in self-imposed exile for four years, clearing the way for him to return home and campaign in this month's general election.
The US and others had said the exclusion of Sam Rainsy would call into question the legitimacy of the vote, scheduled for 28 July. His return is not likely to greatly affect the big picture at the polls, where Hun Sen appears assured of extending his 28-year rule.
Sam Rainsy has lived abroad since 2009 to avoid an 11-year prison term on charges widely seen as politically motivated. King Norodom Sihamoni pardoned him on Friday at Hun Sen's request.