Just Days Before Elections, Three CNRP Candidates Defect to CPP

Three CNRP commune candidates in Koh Kong province have defected to the ruling party, a district governor said on Tuesday.

Khlout Bunthean and two other Thma Donpov commune CNRP candidates approached the commune’s CPP leader asking to join the ruling party on Monday and on Tuesday, according to Thma Baing district governor Tou Savuth.

“We just accepted them and asked them to resign [from the CNRP] and submit a form to join the Cambodian People’s Party,” Mr. Savuth said, after the candidates thumbprinted a resignation letter.

Mr. Bunthean was previously a CPP member, the governor said. He could not remember the names of the other two defectors.

However, they were identified as Sy Leang and Soeung Thy by government mouthpiece Fresh News. None of the three could be reached for comment.

Heng Bunthon, chief of the CNRP’s executive committee in Thma Baing district, on Tuesday said he was yet to receive a letter or hear from the candidates directly. He confirmed Mr. Bunthean occupied the top spot on the party’s roster in the commune, while Mr. Thy was ranked

fourth and Mr. Leang, sixth.

Mr. Bunthon said he would be disappointed to get confirmation of the news, saying that it had been difficult to find qualified candidates in the commune.

But the party still had reserve candidates to replace the defectors should the CNRP win seats, he added.

“Supporters still have the same enthusiasm and will not follow one or two individuals,” he said.

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