Sam Rainsy Party lawmaker Keo Remy would neither confirm nor deny Monday whether he was poised to defect from the opposition and return to the royalist party.
Keo Remy, who joined the opposition after defecting from Prince Norodom Ranariddh’s Funcinpec party in the lead-up to the 2003 general election, said he held no allegiance to any particular party and sought only to serve the interests of the people.
“The [opposition] party faced a difficult situation so I decided to stay, but no one knows that will happen tomorrow,” Keo Remy said by telephone.
“For me, staying with any political party is not important because I serve the nation,” he said.
“I cannot say that I will stay with Sam Rainsy Party forever. I cannot anticipate what will happen in the future.”
Keo Remy also thanked Prince Ranariddh for recent remarks indicating he would be happy to accept him back into the Funcinpec fold.
National Assembly and Funcinpec President Prince Ranariddh told supporters at his party’s congress last week that Keo Remy and other defectors would strengthen the party if they returned.
Keo Remy declined to comment on what led him to initially defect from Funcinpec saying that such things were “in the past.” As to his future with the opposition, he said, it depended on how he was treated.
“Now it is OK. But I do not know in the future if [the Sam Rainsy Party] will still be good to me,” he added.
Eng Chhay Eang, opposition secretary-general, accused Funcinpec officials of spreading rumors of defections to weaken the morale of his party.
“As long as [Keo Remy] is still with the Sam Rainsy Party flag we will still love each other,” he added.
Funcinpec spokesman Chea Chanboribo said the party was extending a hand of friendship to all former members.“We open the door to them,” he said.
However, a second Funcinpec defector and now opposition lawmaker said he would not be taking up his former party’s offer.
“This is only Prince Norodom Ranariddh’s dream,” lawmaker Kieng Vang, a former royalist party secretary of state, said of the offer to return to Funcinpec.
“I don’t want a [Funcinpec] position. If I wanted a position I would not have left,” he said.