SRP Removes NA Lawmaker Kieng Vang

The Sam Rainsy Party has re­moved its sole National Assem­bly parliamentarian for Kampot pro­vince, claiming that lawmaker Kieng Vang had defected to Fun­cin­pec, SRP officials said Sunday.

SRP President Sam Rainsy said that the party had removed Kieng Vang from his seat in parliament Fri­day after SRP members in Kam­pot province reported that the lawmaker had been campaigning for Funcinpec.

“He already defected to another party,” Sam Rainsy said. “We al­ready have evidence from local peo­ple—he has been serving Funcinpec.”

SRP Secretary-General Eng Chhay Eang said the party al­ready made a request to the Na­t­ion­al Assembly asking for Kieng Vang to be formally removed and re­­placed with Vann Dara, a member of the party’s Kampot provincial council.

Kieng Vang’s position within the SRP was already looking weakened prior to Friday’s ousting by the party. Last July, the party transferred him from his position as head of the Kampot council to a lesser post in Phnom Penh as part of an internal reshuffle geared at shoring up support ahead of this year’s national election.

Contacted by telephone Mon­day, Kieng Vang called his re­mo­val unjust and denied having defected to Funcinpec. He added that the SRP had not given him a chance to defend himself against the allegations before removing him.

“I am not happy with Sam Rain­sy—there is no justice in society,” he said. “Sam Rainsy has his party to serve the family members of Eng Chhay Eang, [SRP lawmaker] Yim Sovann and Sam Rainsy.”

Kieng Vang, who had previously been a Funcinpec official, added that because of the removal, he has now decided to rejoin the royalist party.

“I will rejoin Funcinpec and my old friends,” he said. “I want to re­store Funcinpec.”

Funcinpec spokesman Nouv So­va­thero said that his party was eager to welcome Kieng Vang back into the fold.

Sam Rainsy dismissed Kieng Vang’s accusations of nepotism, saying that defectors always criticize their old party.

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