Cambodia’s merged opposition party teeters on the edge of a damaging split after its self-exiled former leader Sam Rainsy said that he had seized back the party leadership from his successor, Kem Sokha, until his onetime rival-cum-ally is released from house arrest.
The decision was announced at a December 1-2 meeting in the U.S. city of Atlanta attended only by the faction of the Cambodia National Rescue Party (CNRP) with roots in the former leader’s Sam Rainsy Party (SRP), with those linked with Sokha’s Human Rights Party (HRP) boycotting.
Rainsy has for months sparred with Sokha’s faction about his successor’s capacity to lead the CNRP while under house arrest in Phnom Penh and told Radio Free Asia at the close of the Atlanta meeting he felt compelled to temporarily retake the role “so that the party has a leader to lead it.”
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