Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Mao Monyvann says more HRP defections coming from SRP ranks

Mao Monyvann says more HRP defections coming from SRP ranks

Mao Monyvann says more HRP defections coming from SRP ranks

Mao Monyvann speaks to reporters outside the National Assembly in Phnom Penh in March.

Former Sam Rainsy Party lawmaker Mao Monyvann has boasted that the majority of SRP district and commune officials in Kampong Cham province will follow him in defecting to the Human Rights Party, the latest snipe in the recent bickering between the duelling opposition parties.

Mao Monyvann, who formerly held a seat in the National Assembly representing Kampong Cham province, announced his resignation from parliament in March. Later that month, he staged a press conference to criticise what he said was the nepotistic leadership of the SRP, prompting SRP officials to vote for his ouster from the party.

Shortly thereafter, he joined the HRP, and he said yesterday that dozens of SRP officials in his former constituency of Kampong Cham would soon follow his lead. The SRP currently has 394 commune councillors, eight district councillors and six provincial councillors in Kampong Cham, he said.

“They are contacting me so that they can defect to the HRP as well. Sixty percent of them will decide to join the HRP soon,” he claimed.

When Mao Monyvann left the SRP in March, he criticised what he said was the excessive control wielded over the party by the families of lawmakers Yim Sovann and Eng Chhay Eang. SRP officials in Kampong Cham have since said they agree with these sentiments, Mao Monyvann said.

“They said my defection is good – they dislike SRP leaders who think too much about nepotisim,” he said.

The SRP and HRP, which currently hold 25 and three seats in the National Assembly respectively, have long floated talks of a merger to form a united front against the ruling Cambodian People’s Party, which holds 90. Merger talks have broken down in the past few months, however, amid recriminations traded  between the two parties.

Sovann Pisakha, an SRP lawmaker who replaced Mao Monyvann in Kampong Cham, said yesterday that he had seen no evidence of a mass defection brewing in the province.

“My grassroots leaders believe in the SRP and Mr Sam Rainsy,” Sovann Pisakha said.