Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - In lead-up to election, defection claims mount

In lead-up to election, defection claims mount

In lead-up to election, defection claims mount

In another apparent defection from the opposition, former Human Rights Party leader Horl Samnieng announced yesterday that he and more than 100 others were joining the ruling Cambodian People’s Party.

At a press conference in Phnom Penh yesterday, Samnieng said he and at least 116 Cambodian National

Rescue Party and Human Rights Party members were joining the CPP because they had lost confidence in the opposition parties.

CNRP legislators immediately derided the announcement, claiming the defection was a CPP ploy and noting that Samnieng never had been a member of the CNRP.

“He was executive committee president of the Human Rights Party from 2008 to 2009,” the current HRP executive committee president, Phuong Sokha, said. “But we learned that he was a CPP spy and so we removed him in 2009. I have been the president since 2010.”

Despite presenting himself at the press conference as a current CNRP leader in Kandal province, Samnieng later acknowledged to the Post that currently he was a member of neither the CNRP nor the HRP, claiming he had quit the HRP in 2012 because the party did not respect him.

“They never called me for meetings. I don’t know what mistake I made,” he said.

He added that he had decided to join the CPP not out of personal interest but because the CPP, led by Prime Minister Hun Sen, had a clear political platform.

Sam Rainsy Party lawmaker Chhay Eang, however, said the defection clearly had been organised by the CPP.

“But this shows the Cambodian National Rescue Party is strong and they are weak if they pick dismissed people like this [to defect],” he said.

Responding to the claims that the CPP had organised the defection, Press and Quick Reaction Unit spokesman Tith Sothea said yesterday that the CPP had organised a ceremony to receive the newcomers but that the defectors had come on their own.

“There have been continuous defections,” he said. “We could not organise it – this is an unreasonable allegation.”

MOST VIEWED

  • Prince injured, wife dies after accident

    THE wife of former First Prime Minister Prince Norodom Ranariddh, Ouk Phalla, 39, died while the prince was “severely” injured following a road accident in Preah Sihanouk province’s Prey Nub district on Sunday morning, officials said. Rananriddh, who is also the president of the Funcinpec

  • Bun Heang mocks US, threatens its citizens in scathing open letter

    After being hit with sanctions from the US Department of Treasury, Cambodian General Hing Bun Heang said he would retaliate against any US national who does not respect his country’s sovereignty, has ambitions to invade Cambodia or incites “traitors” in the Kingdom to do

  • Ranariddh 'seriously injured', his wife dies in accident in Preah Sihanouk

    THE wife of former first prime minister Prince Norodom Ranariddh has died. Ouk Phalla succumbed to injuries sustained in a traffic accident on National Road 4 in Preah Sihanouk’s Prey Nub district this morning. She and the prince were immediately rushed to the Preah Sihanouk

  • US slammed over BGU head as Foreign Ministry says sanctions violate international principles

    The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation (MFAIC) has condemned the US Department of Treasury for its sanctions, announced on Tuesday, against Cambodian General Hing Bun Heang for his alleged role in infringing human rights. In a statement, the ministry said it is disturbing