Prime Minister Hun Sen on Wednesday once again extended an open invitation to members of other parties to join his ruling CPP ahead of the July national election.
“Now there are many other political parties’ members that have worked with the CPP. From here, I welcome any political parties’ members who want to participate or are participating or have already participated to join the CPP—I will welcome them all,” Hun Sen said during a pagoda inauguration in Kompong Cham province. “The CPP does not care about the past,” he said.
The prime minister’s remarks come a day after opposition leader Sam Rainsy proposed that the country’s many small political parties unite with the SRP to take on the ruling party in the July election.
Hun Sen also announced that his party has already submitted its list of election candidates to the National Election Committee, while claiming that other parties were still trying to auction off spots on their candidate lists.
“The CPP has no culture to bargain the price for the first or the second candidate,” he said.
NRP spokesman Muth Channtha said members of his party had no interest in working with the CPP because the prime minister has shown little appreciation for Prince Ranariddh, who he said was an important partner to Hun Sen in the last three mandates.
“The NRP never thinks to participate with Samdech Hun Sen,” Muth Channtha said.
SRP Deputy Secretary-General Mu Sochua said that her party had no interest in responding to Hun Sen’s call for people to defect to the CPP, and she disputed the prime minister’s claim of officials buying their way up the candidate list.
“We are not selling and buying like a company,” she said of her party’s election candidates.
Sam Rainsy said by telephone that a much more important issue was the CPP’s practice of buying-off defecting opposition officials.
“The CPP bought SRP members by making them government advisers equal to ministers, secretaries of state,” Sam Rainsy said.