Hundreds of members of Prince Norodom Ranarridh’s erstwhile eponymous party in Kampot have decided to follow their former leader out the door, bolting for the newly formed Cambodian National Rescue Party, officials said yesterday.
Bou Luon, deputy executive president of the NRP in Kampot, along with the party’s Chhouk and Dorng Tung district presidents – Sim Sok and Ouk Dul – said yesterday that the ouster of Ranarridh and the push to merge with royalist party Funcinpec had been the one-two punch that sent them looking for a new political home.
In addition to themselves, there will be about 500-600 members in three districts joining CNRP, the trio said.
“I had followed Samdech Krom Preah [Ranariddh] since 1992. When he resigned, we must find out who can rescue the nation,” Bou Luon said in a thinly veiled reference to the name given to the party being formed out of a union of the Sam Rainsy Party and Human Rights Party.
“I followed the prince. I cannot join Funcinpec because it [joins hand with the ruling party] for power,” Ouk Dul added.
Lawmaker Chea Poch, the SRP’s president in Kampot province, said he was thrilled at the addition of the NRP defectors, saying it showed momentum heading toward the 2013 National Assembly election.
But acting NRP president Sao Rany, the man largely responsible for Ranariddh’s ouster, sniffed at the move yesterday, saying that the CNRP was inflating the figures and that it would have no effect on his party’s planned merger with Funcinpec.
“It is nothing to be worried about. I recognise there are few [members] going to [CNRP]. It does not affect the NRP vote,” Sao Rany said.
To contact the reporter on this story: Meas Sokchea at [email protected]