Says the strength and effectiveness of Cambodia's ruling party make any futher opposition to it impossible to mount
Keo Remy, shown on a poster to the right of HRP leader Kem Sokha, has defected to the Cambodian People’s Party.
HUMAN Rights Party leader Keo Remy, a 20-year veteran of Cambodia's opposition movement and critic of Prime Minister Hun Sen, announced Tuesday he will defect to the ruling Cambodian People's Party.
"I see my opposition to the CPP leaders, who have Samdech Hun Sen, is impossible. They are qualified and politically strong, especially psychologically," he said.
"If someone talks to Samdech Hun Sen, it would be impossible for him to leave Samdech Hun Sen," he said.
Keo Remy said the CPP's approach to foreign affairs has created good international relationships and earned support for the party and the government.
"I have opposed them, but the opposition has lost all its supporters," he said. "The CPP won 90 seats in the last election, and no one forced anyone to mark their ballots.
"From one mandate to the next, the CPP always gained support. I saw that if I opposed them to the end of my life, I could still not win," he said.
"So I have nothing more to oppose, and I ask only to join with the Cambodian People's Party without condition and without any demand for a position [in the government]."
Keo Remy said a few additional members of the HRP were expected to join the ruling party, not because of any internal division within the opposition but because they had no hope of resisting the government.
HRP President Kem Sokha could not be reached for comment Tuesday, but spokesman and secretary general of the party, Yem Ponhearith, told the Post he was surprised when he saw Keo Remy on CTN television announcing his defection.
"There was no internal problem in the party," he said. "[Keo Remy's] defection is a matter of individual rights, and we must respect that."
CPP lawmaker Cheam Yeap told the Post the platform of the CPP is to receive all defectors who believe the party will help improve their lives.
"Our CPP leaders always want to unite and work together," he said. "What is important is the development of the country."