Former Opposition Youth Leader Joins the KPP

An outspoken government critic and former opposition youth wing leader on Tuesday announced he had become deputy of the tiny Khmer Power Party, led by fellow dissident Sourn Serey Ratha.

Soung Sophorn, 31, was a youth leader who stood as a CNRP lawmaker candidate in the 2013 national election, but announced his resignation in March, branding opposition leader Kem Sokha “a puppet” of the ruling party.

Soung Sophorn talks to reporters in Phnom Penh on Tuesday. (Leng Len/The Cambodia Daily)

On Tuesday, pledging his allegiance to the KPP, Mr. Sophorn said: “I would like to shake hands with the Khmer Power Party to empower the citizens, not myself,” before laying out his populist credentials and protest history.

“I got my finger cut due to the sacrifice I made for the people.

But it is a tiny devotion, I am going to make bigger sacrifices for the people in the future,” he added.

Mr. Serey Ratha, who returned to Cambodia in 2015 after being pardoned on a “terrorism” conviction, said his new vice-president was “young and energetic.”

Despite Mr. Serey Ratha boasting of hundreds of thousands of supporters across the country, the KPP failed to win a single seat in the June commune elections.

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