A Cambodian People’s Party (CPP) official said at least 2,000 people from Candlelight (CP), currently the country’s second-largest party, have joined the ruling CPP, just days after the latter was warned of supposed links to former opposition leader Sam Rainsy.

The CPP welcomed the new members – with young people, union representatives and former opposition party members among them – in an October 30 ceremony presided over by Phnom Penh governor Khuong Sreng, in his capacity as member of the CPP Central Committee and chairman of the party’s Phnom Penh committee.

Sreng told The Post that the new members had decided to join his party because of their trust in the leadership of the CPP-led government. Many of them, he noted, were employed by factories and manufacturing enterprises owned by investors who are attracted to the government’s policies.

“This is how they see it. Their standards of living are growing day by day, and they realise that if they want to see Cambodia grow even more, then the CPP is the only logical choice,” he said, adding that they are former opposition activists and CP members.

CP vice-president Thach Setha could not be reached for comment on October 31.

Last week, Prime Minister Hun Sen called on those from an unnamed party with links to Rainsy – former president of the Supreme Court-dissolved Cambodia National Rescue Party (CNRP) who is facing legal repercussions for his latest “insults” on King Norodom Sihamoni – to leave the party immediately. Hun Sen later identified the party as CP, which has since issued a statement distancing itself from Rainsy and condemning any insult on the monarchy.

Hun Sen warned at the time that if they remained members of the party, they ran the risk of legal action, as any involvement with Rainsy, whom he dubbed “three generations of traitors”, was illegal.

The CP statement came a day after the premier urged the CP leadership to make their position clear on Rainsy’s insults of the King.