Over 100 Opposition Members Defect to the CPP in Capital

Officials in Phnom Penh’s Mean­chey district yesterday claimed that more than 100 members of three opposition parties had defected to the ruling CPP over the weekend.​​​

Meanchey district Governor Kouch Chamroeun said yesterday 21 SRP members of councils from communes throughout the district as well as security staff had defected to the ruling CPP on Saturday.

“It is their political choice, and they wanted to join the government to help develop the country,” Mr Chamroeun said.

Former SRP commune councilor Heng Bophanavuthy said by telephone yesterday that he was among a total of 128 opposition party members who defected from the SRP, Human Rights Party and Nationalist Party on Saturday.

“I defected with the other 127 to join with the CPP because we did not like the parties’ rules at the district level,” Mr Bophanavuthy said.

He said that the defectors comprised 21 members of the SRP security staff in Chak Angre Loeu commune, 40 opposition party members from Niroth commune, and 67 opposition party members in Chhbar Ampov II.

However, Mr Bophanavuthy added that he was dismissed by the SRP after council elections this year.

Thach Sarin, chief of the Mean­chey district SRP, said yesterday that he knew of a handful of SRP councilors who defected to the ruling party, all of whom were dismissed from the party after campaigning for the CPP prior to the council elections.

“About four or five were fired from the SRP because their activities did not support the party. They have the right to choose the party that they want,” Mr Sarin said, ad­ding that he did not know of any other members defecting.

Party spokesman Yim Sovann said yesterday that he was unaware of any defections.

HRP President Kem Sokha said yesterday that he disbelieved the CPP’s defection claims. “I think that it is false when they say that HRP members defected to CPP,” he said.

Pen Sangha, spokesman for the Nationalist Party, said he was also unaware of the defections. How­ever, he added, “It would be their decision; this is a democracy.”


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