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KPP infighting intensifies

Taing Vida / Khmer Times Share:
The party’s former president wants his power back. KT/Chor Sokunthea

Former Khmer Power Party president Sourn Serey Ratha has threatened to file a complaint against current party president Soung Sophorn for allegedly forging public documents to secure the title of party president.

On Monday, Mr Serey Ratha formed a board of directors with nine senior party members in an attempt to reclaim his position following his release from prison last week after a royal pardon.

Mr Serey Ratha has also asked the Interior Minister to inspect a letter dated September 2017 allegedly forged by Mr Sophorn to appoint himself as president without consent.

Mr Serey Ratha was jailed for more than a year after being convicted of inciting military personnel to disobey orders and demoralising the army.

Mr Serey Ratha said that he designated Mr Sophorn as acting president while he was in jail, but noted that he had no plans to resign as party president.

“I am the one who formed KPP, so I do not want to give up the party. It’s clear that Mr Sophorn tried to steal the party from under me during my absence,” he said. “There are many senior party members who support me, so they will arrange a request for the Interior Ministry to nullify [Mr Sophorn’s] decision.”

Pen Seab, former KPP deputy president recently ousted by Mr Sophorn, said he was not aware that Mr Sophorn had nominated himself as party president.

“Sophorn was greedy and he wanted the power, so he forged documents and no one knew of it. Most of the senior members stood up against his rule after Serey Ratha was freed,” he said. “We decided to negotiate with them, but it’s a surprise that they refused to reinstate Serey Ratha.”

On Sunday, Mr Sophorn said in a statement that Mr Serey Ratha should not be reinstated, but was willing to give him a position as an honourary president for his past contributions.

Reached by phone yesterday, Mr Sophorn acknowledged the threat of a complaint.

In his defence, he said that the documents were obtained from the National Election Committee and the Interior Ministry.

“Party regulation states that anyone jailed would automatically have their position revoked,” Mr Sophorn said. “I did not forge any documents. I am not scared of anyone.”

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