To chants of “50 seats, 50 seats,” First Prime Minister Ung Huot greeted several thousand boisterous sign-waving Reastr Niyum supporters at a Thursday morning rally.
Speaking to reporters, Ung Huot, who is also Cambodia’s foreign minister, expressed confidence in a majority win and predicted his party would take 50 National Assembly seats in the polls.
Responding to a journalist who asked if the politician was not being “wildly optimistic,” Ung Huot said he is in fact “fairly optimistic” about his party’s chances.
“Fifty seats, five-zero, not one-five as was quoted in The Cambodia Daily,” the first prime minister said after addressing party members gathered at the south end of Wat Botum park.
Ung Huot refused to name specifically who might be a possible coalition partner, but said, “I have been known to be able to work with anybody.”
The former Funcinpec member reiterated his opinion that the country should have only one prime minister. He promised that an Ung Huot-led government would focus on agricultural and educational development, “which is dear to my heart.”
Following the rally, about 250 trucks loaded with Reastr Niyum supporters drove through the streets of the capital. The rally may have been missing 100 or so party members, according to Nguon Soeur’s Khmer Citizen’s party.
The KCP claimed in a statement Thursday afternoon that 103 Reastr Niyum members renounced their membership and applied to join the KCP.
“[They] are impressed with the KCP leadership and political platform that emphasizes solutions to problems and not just talk about problems,” the party stated.
Elsewhere in Phnom Penh, nearly 30,000 CPP supporters took to the streets, riding banner- strewn trucks and motorbikes. Cries of “Long live Cambodia” and “Long Live the CPP and Peace” reverberated through the streets as a convoy of hundreds of trucks with loudspeakers wound through the capital’s boulevards.
(Additional reporting by Agence France-Presse)