Facing Scandal, Sokha Tells Opposition to Maintain Focus

Following the release this week of audio clips purported to be recordings of CNRP Vice President Kem Sokha speaking with his alleged mistress, the deputy opposition leader said Thursday that the party should stay focused on elections and not respond to provocation.

In the recordings—the first batch posted to a Facebook page supposedly belonging to his mistress, “Mon Srey”—a man who sounds like Mr. Sokha playfully alludes to having sex with the woman, and discusses her accidental pregnancy.

While the opposition party has not outright denied the man in the clips is Mr. Sokha, it has said the recordings are an attempt by the ruling party to discredit the CNRP’s deputy president by playing up his alleged extramarital affairs.

In a message posted to his Facebook page Thursday following a meeting with CNRP activists, Mr. Sokha did not explicitly refer to the scandal, but told supporters not to be emotional or distracted.

“We are walking along the right path and we are firmly united, and this is our strength,” the message said.

“We must not follow our feelings or others will beat us,” it continued. “We must be more patient. As I said, we should not argue and respond.”

Mr. Sokha’s supposed sexual appetite—and the women he has allegedly scorned—has been a recurring trope in attacks by his political opponents. In the lead-up to the 2013 national election, Prime Minister Hun Sen accused the deputy opposition leader of paying for sex with a 15-year-old girl, as well as abandoning a mistress and refusing to help support her children.

Mr. Sokha could not be reached Thursday. However, senior CNRP lawmaker Eng Chhay Eang said the party would not get caught up in a “political game.”

“Our party is just focusing on going out into the field to meet with activists and build infrastructure,” Mr. Chhay Eang said.

“We are not concerned about the audio clips,” he added. “It seems like a political game.”

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