SRP President Sam Rainsy accused the ruling CPP on Monday of offering hundreds of SRP officials money or lucrative job appointments to defect to the ruling party prior to the July general election.
The CPP is “afraid of the SRP because we are the real opposition party in Cambodia,” he said at a news conference Monday, in which 43 SRP officials joined in claiming that they had been approached by the CPP.
Over the past several months, the SRP has seen a series of high-profile members leave the party to join the CPP, but Sam Rainsy was adamant that the CPP will not succeed in hurting the party.
Nguon Nhel, CPP first vice president of the National Assembly, said by telephone Monday that all defectors have joined the CPP voluntarily, with no convincing or payment, adding that his party abides by the Election Law.
“The SRP looks broken,” Nguon Nhel said.
“Sam Rainsy has a big problem inside his party, and he criticizes the CPP,” he added.
But SRP officials Monday stood behind their party and their claims of CPP inducements to defect.
“They promised to give me a job and a good salary, but I rejected their promises and I am still with the SRP,” said Pov Heng, SRP second deputy chief of Bek Chan commune in Kandal’s Ang Snuol district. Local CPP members had made the offers, she said.
Soum Robin, SRP second deputy chief of Phsar Thmei I commune in Phnom Penh’s Daun Penh district, said that he had defected to the CPP after receiving the promise of a better job after the election.
However, Soum Robin said that he had returned to the SRP recently, claiming corruption within the CPP as his reason for turning back to the SRP.