A GROUP of 73 SRP activists has defected to the ruling Cambodian People’s Party in Kampot in the past week, the provincial CPP president said Monday, bringing the total number of opposition defections since the 2008 elections to more than 700 in that province alone.
Koy Kun Hour, the CPP president in Kampot, said he viewed the defections as an endorsement of the ruling party’s policies at the local level.
“We strongly believe that the defectors will work with us to reduce poverty in this province, as well as in [the rest of] Cambodia,” he said.
Koy Kun Hour said most of the defections had come from Funcinpec and from the Nationalist Party, formerly the Norodom Ranariddh Party, and that 30 percent had come from the Sam Rainsy and the Human Rights parties.
Mu Sochua, an SRP parliamentarian who represents Kampot, said Monday that she was not concerned by the defections.
“In a socio-democratic society, anyone can join other parties if they like. It’s normal,” she said.
She added that she believed defections to the SRP since the last elections had also swelled her party’s numbers both in the province and nationwide.
She also said she believed the CPP was promoting news of the defections in an effort to exaggerate its popularity.
“This is a CPP strategy, to make this big news,” she said.
“But for us it is not news. I think maybe CPP leaders are afraid to lose their popularity or lose the next election.”
The CPP won 90 of 123 seats in the National Assembly during the July 2008 parliamentary elections.
The SRP was the first runner-up, taking 26 seats in the National Assembly.