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Four more SRP Senior Officials Defect to CPP

As Cambodian parliamentary election scheduled for July 2008 is drawing near, more and more politicians from the opposition are leaving the party.

Four additional senior officials from the opposition Sam Rainsy Party decided on Friday to defect their party and enter the ruling party CPP, making the total number of defectors so far to more than ten. They are Chao Phally, Ouk Meoung, Leng Thaly, and Hem Kolboth.

One of the defectors, Chao Phally, a former SRP's lawmaker, described the leadership of the Sam Rainsy party as dictatorial.

"The reason I left the party is that the party's leadership was against the democratic principles, disrespected the rules and internal regulations, and decided things according to the president and his groups. It did not make use of the real democracy. That is the reason I left the Sam Rainsy Party", said Chao Phally.

While SRP claims it is still doing fine, observers say the defection could somehow affect the party in the coming election.

"To my observation, it is not that serious. However, it could somehow affect the party as those senior officials are the core strength and the fact that they enter another party means they are still of some value to the party", said Koul Panha, director of COMFREL.