The Opposition Sam Rainsy Party expelled a National Assembly member and a senator from its party on Friday, and suspended at least four commune council members, accusing them of inactivity in their constituencies and party disloyalty.
SRP secretary-general Ke Sovannroth said yesterday that the party had removed Tok Vanchan, a parliamentarian representing Takeo province, and Senator Vann Sivoeurn from its party list, and suspended four SRP officials from Kampong Cham province.
“We found that those party members were not active in their constituencies, did not play their role to serve their supporters in accordance with the party’s policies and were not loyal to the party,” he said, refusing to disclose the names of the suspended commune council members.
“We have to replace them [with] new candidates to ensure that supporters will not cast their vote for other parties in the upcoming commune and national elections.”
However, Tok Vanchan claimed that his expulsion was the result of nepotism in the SRP leadership in pursuit of his seat.
“It was not fair to expel me from the parliamentary seat and expel me from the party,” he said. “I will discuss with my lawyer to find out a way to complain to the Phnom Penh Municipal Court and the National Election Committee. I am not sure but expect that the complaint would be submitted to the court and NEC [today].”
Vanchan said SRP leaders had accused him of disloyalty by linking him with former SRP lawmaker Mao Monyvann, who held a seat in the National Assembly representing Kampong Cham province before announcing his resignation from parliament in March.
Later that month, he staged a press conference to criticise what he called the nepotistic leadership of the SRP, prompting SRP officials to vote for his ouster from the party.
Soon after, he joined rival Human Rights Party, and has since boasted that the majority of SRP district and commune officials in Kampong Cham would follow him.
The SRP now hold 26 of a total 123 seats in the National Assembly. Merger talks between the SRP and HRP to form a front against the ruling Cambodian People’s Party, which holds 90 seats, have broken down in recent months.