Cambodian People’s Party authorities gloated yesterday that more than 300 CNRP members across 12 communes in Banteay Meanchey had defected from the opposition party and joined their ranks, a claim that yesterday was rejected as a lie by CNRP officials.
Pro-government news source Fresh News reported that Ke Kim Yan, a deputy prime minister, spoke about the defections on Sunday at CPP headquarters in the province.
“They defected because CNRP cheated them, lied to them, and the members had no trust for them, so they decided to come to us,” Kim Yan is quoted as saying in the article.
Sao Poleak, head of the CNRP executive committee in O’Chrou district, where the bulk of the alleged defections occurred, said the report was an outright lie. “Not even a single person defected … Such news always comes out when the election approaches. We will wait and see the result of the election,” he said.
Ker Samphors, head of the provincial committee, echoed Poleak’s denial.
“I have seen the information on media, and this is just misinformation from the ruling party who are telling the people a lie. It is normal in Banteay Meanchey and some other provinces for the ruling party to do this. The fact is that the supporters of CNRP are increasing every election,” Samphors said.
CPP spokesman Sok Eysan maintained that the defections were real and due to the alleged need for members to pay in order to move up the party ranks.
“We didn’t buy them gifts or bribe them . . . CPP already has more than 5 million members, we don’t need to attract any others,” Eysan said.
The CPP frequently reports alleged defections from the opposition, which are regularly dismissed by CNRP members as either untrue or the result of bribery.