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Opposition Paper Publisher Moves to CPP

The publisher of an opposition-aligned newspaper has joined ranks with a growing number of people moving to the ruling Cambodian People's Party ahead of national elections in July.

Thach Keth, publisher of the Sam Rainsy Party-affiliated Sralanh Khmer, or Love Khmer, newspaper, said Monday he was throwing his support behind the ruling party.

Thach Keth confirmed Monday he joined the CPP March 13, the day after he resigned from the Sam Rainsy Party.

He would spend his own "pocket money" to publish the newspaper "to serve the CPP," he said.

Boay Roeuy, editor in chief of the paper, said he would leave it, even though Thach Keth had asked him to stay. He said he was disappointed this happened at a time when the newspaper market is growing.

Kong Koam, vice president of the Sam Rainsy Party, said Monday he was not worried about the move. The newspaper would be known as a CPP paper, he said, and would not affect the popularity of the opposition.

The paper was less popular among SRP supporters than Moneaksekar Khmer, or Khmer Conscience, he said.

In another defection Monday, the vice president of the Ratanakkiri branch of the opposition party, Phal Tha, also moved to CPP. He arrived in Phnom Penh Monday to resign from the opposition and join the Cambodian People's Party.