The ruling CPP held a ceremony on Saturday in Oddar Meanchey province to welcome 564 new members in what it says was a mass defection from the CNRP due to dissatisfaction with the opposition party.
Samraong City governor Thon Nol said Monday that the ceremony marked the largest defection from the CNRP in the province since the July 2013 national election.
“In this new mandate, it is the first major defection in the province,” Mr. Nol said.
However, Sam Sambo, head of the CNRP’s provincial executive committee, said the event was a ruse orchestrated by ruling party loyalists who only recently joined the opposition.
“They tricked people to join a CNRP-held donation ceremony and to settle land disputes at the same time, and the people didn’t expect they would join a defection ceremony to the CPP,” he said.
But Kem Kosal, a former CNRP provincial council candidate who led the defection, said the group was fed up with opposition leaders for being “selfish and nepotistic.”
“I am proud for making the right decision and mobilizing some more people and activists who love to join me too,” he said.