Two opposition commune officials in Kandal province’s Lvea Em district defected to the ruling CPP on Saturday, claiming to take 254 supporters with them, one of the officials said.
CNRP spokesman Yem Ponhearith described the defection as a “trick” from the CPP that he said would not affect the opposition party’s standing.
So Maran, 55, the second deputy chief of Barong commune, said that he and Nuon Thos, 60, the first deputy chief, had defected in a ceremony hosted by National Police Deputy Commissioner Dul Koeun.
“I decided to leave voluntarily and nobody forced or bribed me,” said Mr. Maran, who explained he had been a Sam Rainsy Party member since 1998.
“I feel hopeless with the CNRP, and the only choice for me is to leave this party to avoid the blame from the people that we cannot be relied on,” he said.
Mr. Ponhearith, the CNRP spokesman, said he was not worried about defections, noting that there had been many before the 2013 election, which the opposition came within seven seats of winning.