Sam Rainsy, President of Cambodia’s Sam Rainsy Party (SRP), will not be able to run in the 2013 elections if he does not return to serve two years in prison for uprooting markers on the border area with Vietnam, Prime Minister Hun Sen said.

The PM made the statement during a graduation ceremony at the Royal University of Phnom Penh on Feb. 24.

Sam Rainsy was sentenced to two years in prison and fined 60 million rien (about 15,000 USD) by Svay Rieng provincial court on Jan. 27. He was convicted of destruction of property and racial incitement in connection with uprooting markers of the Vietnam-Cambodia joint border committee on Oct. 25, 2009.

Meanwhile, about 200 SRP members in Preah Vihear province on Feb. 24 announced to defect the SRP and join the Cambodian People’s Party (CPP) because of a lack in trust in the SRP’s leader.

Ten days earlier, the CPP admitted 73 members of opposition parties, 30 percent of them were SRP members, in Campot province.

Since 2008, about 700 opposition party members in Campot province have joined the CPP./.