Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Funcinpec stalwart throws in the towel and defects to ruling party

Funcinpec stalwart throws in the towel and defects to ruling party

Funcinpec stalwart throws in the towel and defects to ruling party

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Former CPP critic Serey Kosal defects, voices praise for PM Hun Sen

Photo by: HENG CHIVOAN

Serey Kosal on Tuesday just after his defection to the CPP was announced.

Funcinpec stalwart throws in the towel and defects to ruling partySEREY

Kosal, a former Funcinpec resistance commander and long-time critic of

Prime Minister Hun Sen, announced on Tuesday his defection to the

ruling Cambodian People's Party following a year of political setbacks.

"I see that Funcinpec could not unite itself since the party was

seriously divided and losing popularity following the [national

election] on July 27," he told the Post Tuesday.

"After 20 years of opposing the Vietnamese-backed CPP, I now recognise

the achievement of the national and international policies of the CPP."

During the factional fighting of 1997, Serey Kosal commanded troops

loyal to Funcinpec and describes himself as having been a "hardline"

opponent of Hun Sen and the CPP since the early 1980s.

But he now lauds the CPP's approach to national unity, pursued through

the integration of politicians of all political persuations without

discrimination towards former opponents.

"Hun Sen was angrier with me than he was with the other members in Funcinpec, and now he still welcomes me," he said.

CPP

spokesman Khieu Kanharith confirmed Tuesday that Serey Kosal had joined

the CPP and would be given the post of senior minister.

"The CPP is a party with good discipline, so people want to work with it," he said.

Ok

Socheath, adviser to Funcinpec President Keo Puthrasmey, was concerned

the steady defection of senior party members to the CPP would hurt the

party at the 2013 national elections, but said the party still had the

ability to rebuild.

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