Just after 7:30 am Sunday, First Prime Minister Ung Huot and his wife, Ung Malis Yvonne, took their positions at the back of a line, and waited with about 100 voters outside Wat Tuol Tom Pong polling station in Phnom Penh.
Nearly three hours later, the couple finally reached the front of the line and cast their ballots.
“I stand in line because I am the same as the other voters, I have only one vote,” Ung Huot said. “How much more democratic could I be?”
The first prime minister passed the time in the blazing sun chatting with the crowd. “Are you happy?” he asked them. “I don’t mind if you don’t vote for me. Though I think they all will,” he confided to the media contingent of three reporters.
In the next line, salesman Eang Sarin said he had noticed Ung Huot but had not felt intimidated. “I think it’s good that he votes like normal people,” the 55-year-old said.
The first prime minister was not accompanied by any obvious security forces and seemed to attract minimal attention.
Emerging from the polling station just after 10:15 am, Ung Huot proudly displayed his finger to local camera crews.
“I think this ink is cool,” he said in English.
Hundreds of voters at the temple near Tuol Tom Pong market in the Chamkar Mon district of Phnom Penh began the morning early in orderly lines.
The atmosphere was buoyant but controlled, and security was inconspicuous. Voters reported feeling excited and confident.
© 1998 – 2013, All rights reserved.