Two members of the opposition Sam Rainsy Party’s central committee have defected to the ruling Cambodian People’s Party and taken 26 colleagues with them, weeks before the June 3 commune elections.
Pim Samnang and Kin Virak said yesterday that there was no bright future for them in the party they had served for most of their lives, because nepotism and divisions had strangled the SRP’s effectiveness.
“I have lived with the Sam Rainsy Party for 17 years, knowing only suffering, wasting time. Internally, the party was divided into many groups, so it has been seen that this party cannot beat the Cambodian People’s Party,” Pim Samnang said.
He said the party had overlooked him as a candidate because of nepotism, pointing out SRP deputy president Kong Korm’s son was a senator and Prey Veng province party president while his other son Kong Sakphea was a Prey Veng council member.
Pim Samnang denied the CPP had offered him a senior position for his defection and said those who had followed him included two district council members and council members from 10 Prey Veng communes.
Kong Korn said both men were about to be kicked out of the SRP because Pim Samnang had been caught persuading commune council members to sell their votes to the CPP in Senate elections earlier this year, while Kin Virak had problems with a land-selling business.
Cheam Him, the CPP Prey Veng provincial council president, said the former SRP members had switched to his party because of its strong political platform and were not bought off or offered desirable positions.
On Monday, 44 SRP members from Battambang province defected to the CPP.
To contact the reporter on this story: Meas Sokchea at [email protected]