CPP Gains Senior F’pec Defectors; Gov’t Posts Promised

About 20 senior Funcinpec officials have moved to join the ruling CPP in recent days, government spokesman and In­forma­tion Min­ister Khieu Kan­harith said Wed­nesday, adding that the defectors would receive positions within the government.

“I know there are about 20 Fun­cinpec members, including [former senior minister] Serei Kosal, [former ambassador] Ok So­cheat, and [former secretary of state] Nou Kassie, have joined with the CPP so far, and they will receive similar positions in the government or are waiting for the prime minister to consider their [future] positions,” Khieu Kan­harith said.

He said he was not able to recall the names of the other defectors.

Serei Kosal could not be reach­ed for comment Wednes­day, but he has openly spoken of his de­fection in the press.

Nou Kassie, who left politics a few years ago and is well known for his NGO work, said by telephone Wednesday that he had been working with NGOs of late and had remained politically neutral, but decided that now was the time to throw his support behind the ruling party.

“Prime Minister Hun Sen has successfully led the country to develop and I think this is the occasion for me to join the CPP,” Nou Kassie said, adding that he has not asked for a position in government.

Ok Socheat, however, denied having joined the CPP, but said it is something he is considering.

An adviser to Funcinpec Presi­dent Keo Puth Rasmey and previously a stalwart supporter of Prince Norodom Ranariddh, Ok Socheat, said he is waiting to see what comes of the political crisis in Thailand before he chooses which party to back.

“The political situation in Thai­land has an impact on Cambodia, and now we want Khmers to come together,” he said. “I think that when we are together, our enemy cannot look down on us, and I might decide to join with the CPP after the Thai government is built.”

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