Former Prime Minister Hun Sen, who remains president of the ruling Cambodian People’s Party (CPP), has welcomed former opposition leadership member Nhim Kim Nhol into the fold of the CPP.

Kim Nhol, a former member of the board of directors of the long-defunct Cambodia National Rescue Party (CNRP), said that after seeing the peace and development delivered by the country’s leaders, he was inspired to request permission to rejoin political life with the CPP.

Hun Sen took to social media on December 31 to announce the newest member of the party.

“On behalf of the CPP, I would like to warmly welcome Nhim Kim Nhol,” he said.

Kim Nhol, who is currently living in Australia, asked to join the ruling party in a December 28 letter.

“I have clearly seen how [Hun Sen’s] past policies and leadership have made the country peaceful. The people live in harmony and the Kingdom is developing in all fields,” he said.

He noted the modern infrastructure which now covers the nation, adding that he was impressed at how the leadership of Hun Sen had created a new image for the Kingdom – both regionally and internationally – through the successful hosting of the 32nd SEA Games and ASEAN Para Game last May.

He added that his decision to apply for party membership stemmed from recognising the invaluable merit of Hun Sen to the motherland and the people of Cambodia. 

Kim Nhol explained that Hun Sen’s pursuit of peace – by ending the civil war through his win-win policy – had laid out a path that all Cambodians aspire to and must remember as a historical moment for the nation.

“Therefore, I would like to respectfully request the CPP president to pardon me with compassion and withdraw any outstanding [lawsuits]. 

“Some time ago, I foolishly believed in the demagogy politics of Sam Rainsy, which was disrespectful to [Hun Sen], as well as the people of Cambodia and the nation,” he said.

“I ask permission to return to the motherland of Cambodia and participate in political life with the Cambodian People’s Party. This way, I wish to become a resource that will serve the people, the party and the country with the utmost dedication,” he added.

Chey Tech, an independent socio-economic analyst, noted that before every election – whether for the Senate, the commune councils, or parliament – there is generally an uptick in non-governmental party officials wanting to join the ruling party.

“Regarding the integration of former opposition members into the CPP, it is especially significant if the applicants are former leaders or decision makers,” he told The Post on January 1.

“Whether they are popular economists, social policy experts or even former critics of the ruling party, their membership of the CPP will have an influence and must concern other opposition parties,” he added.

Over the past year, several former high-ranking officials and former members of the opposition have asked to join political life with the CPP, with many of them noting that it is a key player in ensuring comprehensive peace for the people and the nation.