CPP, SRP: Funcinpec Members Want To Defect

CPP and Sam Rainsy Party officials claimed on Monday that both high- and low-ranking Funcinpec mem­bers have approached their parties in the hope of jumping ship.

Government spokesman and In­for­mation Minister Khieu Kan­har­ith declined on Monday to say who or how many Funcinpec officials had approached the CPP about the possibility of defecting, but said that those who broached the issue held titles equal to his own.

“There are a number of Funcin­pec officials who approached [the CPP]. I myself was approached,” Khieu Kanharith said, adding that so far, none of the Funcinpec officials have been accepted.

SRP lawmaker Eng Chhay Eang claimed that potential Funcinpec def­ectors have also contacted his party, but that they have been lower-level Funcinpec members and supporters. Funcinpec of­fi­cials and lawmakers reacted with resignation to the claims.

“Members who want to walk out, it is their right,” said Prince Sis­o­wath Sirirath.

Funcinpec lawmaker Ly Thuch ag­reed, saying members were “free to make a move.”

“I feel there is trouble for Funcin­pec ahead,” he said, adding that Nhiek Bun Chhay, the party’s new secretary-general, was working to unite Funcinpec.

Funcinpec Rural Development Min­ister Lu Laysreng said the de­fec­tions were few and that they would not harm the party.

“Right now it’s just a little thing. I don’t think lots will leave,” he said.

Lu Laysreng also took issue with Nhiek Bun Chhay, stating that in­stead of ingratiating himself with Prime Minister Hun Sen, he ought to be working to strengthen the par­ty.

On Monday, Nhiek Bun Chhay made a surprise donation of 100 wheel­chairs to the National Para­lym­pic Committee, of which Hun Sen is president.

“The Funcinpec party is poor. It is inappropriate,” Lu Laysreng said of the wheel­chair donation.

Nhiek Bun Chhay could not be reach­ed for comment.

 

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