Five Pursat province Sam Rainsy Party members said they defected to the Human Rights Party yesterday, though the SRP claimed they were sacked after it found that they had been spying for the ruling Cambodian People’s Party.
SRP spokesman Yim Sovan said yesterday the five, including former deputy provincial president Em Virak, had been paid by a CPP minister to provide information.
“We have evidence and we have enough witness. This is not surprising,” Yim Sovan said. He declined, however, to identify the CPP minister.
Em Virak joined the Human Rights Party along with the former SRP presidents of Pursat’s Bakan and Krakor districts, as well as former Pursat town deputy president Da Sophally and a former Bakan district deputy president.
Em Virak told a press conference that the group had defected and not been sacked. He said they were threatened with dismissal because of their affiliations to ousted Pursat provincial party president Heng Chanthuon who was sacked by the SRP six months ago amid allegations he was being paid by the CPP to spy on the opposition party.
“If I took the money from Cambodian People’s Party why did I defect to Human Rights Party?” Em Virak said yesterday.
HRP president Kem Sokha said the five would take similar roles within his party’s structure to those they held at the SRP.
Earlier this year a touted merger between the HRP and SRP fell through with the two parties unable to agree on a new party structure.