The editor of one of the country’s two remaining opposition-affiliated newspapers has switched his paper’s political leanings toward Funcinpec, a move that royalist party officials said was rewarded with a lucrative government position.
Keo Sothea, editor in chief of The Voice of Khmer Youth and a former member of the Sam Rainsy Party’s board of directors, said Monday that he decided to stop supporting the opposition party after Sam Rainsy refused to join the government.
Former Funcinpec deputy secretary-general Ok Socheat said Keo Sothea has joined the royalist party and will be offered the position of undersecretary of state in an unnamed ministry.
“A lot of Funcinpec party members are angry [about government position offers to former opposition members], but this is to show that the Funcinpec party does not betray the Sam Rainsy Party,” Ok Socheat said.
Keo Sothea denied joining Funcinpec.
The Voice of Khmer Youth is the second opposition newspaper to throw its support behind Funcinpec since the Sam Rainsy Party was shut out of the new government in July. Udom Kati Khmer, or Khmer Ideal, dropped its support some months ago.
Dam Sithik, editor in chief of Moneaksekar Khmer, the only remaining opposition newspaper, said Monday that Funcinpec party officials approached him to join the party and also offered him an undersecretary of state position.
He rejected their offer, and said his paper will continue to favor Sam Rainsy.
“I have no intention to work with the Funcinpec party,” he said.
Opposition Secretary-General Eng Chhay Eang said his party does not fund newspapers.