The ruling CPP yesterday continued to accept commune-level defectors from the dissolved CNRP, noting that nearly half of the opposition’s officials had joined the ruling party.
Prime Minister Hun Sen had set Friday as the deadline for local opposition politicians to defect and join the CPP to keep their jobs.
But Mr Hun Sen pushed the deadline to 9pm last night as more defectors continued to join his party.
In the June commune elections, the CPP won 1,156 communes and the CNRP took 489, while the Khmer National United Party won one commune.
There were 5,007 CNRP commune councillors and nearly 500 commune chiefs.
CPP spokesman Sok Eysan yesterday said about 2,500 former CNRP commune officials had joined the CPP, including nearly half of the opposition party’s elected commune councillors.
Mr Eysan called the number of defections dramatic but unsurprising considering the party was dissolved over accusations that it colluded with the US to topple the government.
Its former leader Kem Sokha also remains jailed on charges of treason.
“This large number reflects the will of the people who want to see the country peaceful, in development and prosperous, so that’s why they have dramatically joined us like this,” Mr Eysan said.
Meanwhile, the permanent committee of the former CNRP yesterday called on its activists to maintain consciousness, ideals, loyalty, and to respect the will of the people and unite under the goal of bringing multi-party democracy back to Cambodia.
“We would like to express our sincere appreciation for the courage, not shock and fear of intimidation, from loyal voters who still want our nation to be rescued,” the committee said.
It said that despite the CNRP’s disbandment, the international community still recognised it as the main opposition in the country.