Former CNRP activist Thy Sovantha’s defection to the CPP appeared to be complete on Thursday after the social media star officially asked to join the ruling party’s ranks while accusing opposition officials of inciting violence and having affairs with activists.
“I am very regretful for my mistakes I made when I was young,” Ms. Sovantha wrote in a Wednesday letter to the party that was published online on Thursday by government-affiliated Fresh News.
“My idea was shortsighted and I was incited and indoctrinated into violence and hatred (coloring Cambodians as ‘Yuon’) by the CNRP’s upper level,” she said, using a derogatory term for Vietnamese people.
Rising to prominence in the run-up to the 2013 general election, the then-teenage activist was regularly seen atop her Lexus SUV at opposition rallies, urging Prime Minister Hun Sen to “step down.” She soon amassed hundreds of thousands of fans on Facebook.
In early 2014, however, elements of the opposition turned on Ms. Sovantha, with Kem Monovithya, the CNRP’s deputy public affairs director and daughter of then-deputy opposition leader Kem Sokha, distributing a statement that she was “not involved” in the party.
Despite initially maintaining her support for the CNRP, Ms. Sovantha last year filed a defamation suit against Mr. Sokha after an audio was leaked of him allegedly speaking to a mistress in which he accuses Ms. Sovantha of using the CNRP for personal gain.
Those suspicions only intensified in November after online allegations surfaced that Prime Minister Hun Sen had promised $1 million to support Ms. Sovantha’s efforts to “break apart” then-CNRP President Sam Rainsy and Mr.
Contacted on Thursday only hours after she updated her Facebook profile photograph to include the CPP logo, Ms. Sovantha doubled down on her accusations against the opposition, accusing officials of having affairs with activists. She offered no evidence to support the allegations.
“In the past I was only looking at one side because I was young, but I have seen the Cambodian People’s Party has made many reforms, stripped some bad officials and they have corrected themselves,” she said.
“With Mr. Kem Sokha and his affair, he always cursed me after I filed a complaint, then many CNRP people had affairs with activists,” she added.
Ms. Sovantha rejected widespread accusations that she was joining the CPP for money.
“I do not need to let people curse me for having a car. I joined the CPP because it’s my will to develop the country, and the CNRP hasn’t done anything to help the country,” she said.
CPP spokesman Sok Eysan said he “would not prevent” anyone from joining the party, and agreed with Ms. Sovantha’s depiction of the CNRP’s anti-Vietnamese rhetoric.
CNRP spokesman Yim Sovann said he did not want to discuss the matter.
“Everyone knows what the situation was,” he said.