Two Funcinpec Lawmakers Defect to CPP

Two Funcinpec National Assem­bly lawmakers have defected to the ruling CPP in yet another blow to the ailing royalist party, officials confirmed Sunday.

Funcinpec Secretary-General Nhiek Bun Chhay said he re­ceived resignation statements last week from lawmakers So Victor, who was deputy chairman of the As­sembly’s finance and banking commission, and Sin Pinsen, who served on the commission for interior, defense and anti-corruption.

“They have submitted their resignation statements to join with the CPP,” he said.

According to Nhiek Bun Chhay, he was not surprised by the defections, as both men were former members of the CPP.

“Our human resources were mixed up,” he said. “We are not sad that these [lawmakers] left to join the CPP.”

At least two further defections by Funcinpec lawmakers to the CPP are expected, Nhiek Bun Chhay said, but he did not reveal who they were. The party has not yet decided on who will replace the defectors, he added.

CPP lawmaker Cheam Yeap con­firmed Sunday that the two Fun­cinpec defectors were part of a group of three, including former SRP lawmaker Amhad Yah­ya, who had agreed to join the CPP.

He said that though Sin Pin­sen, a nephew of Senate and CPP Pre­sident Chea Sim, had a problem with the CPP in the past, he would be welcomed back into the fold.

The 64-year-old Sin Pinsen had been a secretary of state with the Interior Ministry, but left the government in 1994 after being ac­cused of involvement in a coup at­tempt, according to Justin Corfield and Laura Summers’ “Historical Dictionary of Cambodia.”

He joined Funcinpec around 1998.

“The CPP does not take re­venge,” Cheam Yeap went on, ad­ding that the latest Funcinpec de­fections would not affect re­lations between the coalition partners.

“Lawmakers have the right to choose any political parties they like,” he said.

So Victor and Sin Pinsen de­clined to comment Sunday on their decision to join the CPP.

Committee for Free and Fair Elections Director Koul Panha said the defectors would bring some supporters and resources to help the CPP, but otherwise, individual defections mattered little.

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