More than 40 opposition Sam Rainsy Party members in Battambang province defected to the ruling Cambodian People’s Party yesterday because they had lost confidence in their party, defectors said.
Kieng Saran, the former SRP Sangke district president who led the group of 44 to defect to the CPP, said the party served only the interests of its exiled leader Sam Rainsy and those close to him.
“This defection is because of having no justice in the party. The doers have not received any benefits, but the benefits have been given to the persons who are not doers,” Kieng Saran said. “I defect to CPP because I am fed up with SRP.”
Among the 44 were eight commune councillors and one district councillor, Kieng Saran said, adding he had spent thousands of dollars to help the SRP in the senate election, but had received nothing in return.
Battambang provincial SRP council member Chea Chiv said the defectors were mainly inactive members and some were only supporters who had defected to the CPP to seek personal gain.
Ouk Vong, president of Battambang provincial council from the ruling CPP, said he was not surprised by the defection and stressed there had been no coercion involved.
“There is nothing strange, changing from one party to another. They are honest with us, and we must receive them. I will hold a ceremony to receive them [today],” Ouk Vong said.
Election monitor Comfrel executive director Koul Panha said defections were common in a political environment but were often unethical and driven by promises of power rather than ideological political commitments.
“The code of ethics for a politician in Cambodia is still no good, and it also shows the maturity of some of these political organisations in terms of management and structure,” Koul Panha said.
In January the Post reported on an attempt by two CPP affiliates to buy the vote of an SRP provincial councillor in the senate election.