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Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Funcinpec defections continue unabated, as six more jump ship

Funcinpec defections continue unabated, as six more jump ship

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Last week's defection of six senior Funcinpec officials to the ruling CPP points towards the party's total dissolution: analyst.

Photo by:
HENG CHIVOAN

Sun Chanthol defected from Funcinpec to the ruling CPP last week.

A RECENT string of high-level defections from Funcinpec to the ruling Cambodian People's Party could be the final nail in the coffin for the flagging royalist party, says one political observer.

"The latest series of Funcinpec political elites to join the CPP would be a concerning issue [for the party]," said Mar Sophal, an independent political analyst.

"I think that the defection of members of the Funcinpec elite - such as Sun Chanthol and Serey Kosal - could lead to the dissolving of the party."  

In last July's national elections, Funcinpec won just two of the 123 seats in the National Assembly and has since held a tenuous position in a coalition government, losing ministerial posts to a government reshuffle.

And more senior Funcinpec officials are reportedly preparing to defect to the ruling party in the hope that their defection will help them retain posts in the current government.

Kampuchea Thmei reported last week that a further six Funcinpec members had announced their defections, with Sun Chanthol, former minister of transport and public works, the highest-ranking official named.

The list also included a former undersecretary and secretary of state, and a lawmaker from a Kampong Cham constituency.

Not dead yet

Funcinpec Deputy President Prince Sisowath Sirirath saidSunday that Sun Chanthol, the only defecting member of the standing committee of the party, had submitted his resignation to the party last week.

But he said that Funcinpec is a democratic entity that has never interfered with its members' rights of political expression, and that Sun Chanthol's departure would not deal it a fatal blow.

"I think that those defectors who have gone over to the CPP have no faith and defected to the CPP purely out of personal interest," he said.

"Funcinpec is still a key political party, and we will not surrender to personal interest."

Cheam Yeap, a senior CPP lawmaker, told the Post last week that the door of the ruling party was open for all politicians and political parties.

"The CPP remains open for any politicians who are faithful and respect the party's rules and work for the unity of the nation," he said.

The CPP has reiterated its commitment to keeping Funcinpec as its partner in the current coalition government, with shared positions in the government.

Sun Chanthol declined to comment Sunday.

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