The Khmer National United Party yesterday said it expects ten to 15 percent of former CNRP supporters to vote for the party in the national election on Sunday.
KNUP president Nhek Bun Chhay said during an election campaign rally in Phnom Penh’s Chbar Ampov district yesterday that his party will draw support to rebuild an opposition party.
During the 2017 commune elections, Phnom Penh became a CNRP stronghold after it won seven out of twelve seats. Mr Bun Chhay said that drawing their support could mean the solidification of their base in the capital.
“The KNUP will receive about ten to 15 percent of CNRP’s votes,” he said.
He said that the CNRP was a burning house in need of rebuilding and urged former CNRP officials to cast ballots.
When asked about boycott calls by former CNRP officials, he said that it was the people’s choice whether or not to vote, adding that no one should discourage others from participating in an election.
“I think that over 50 percent of people will vote because they’ve been encouraged to take part,” he said.
Mr Bun Chhay began his party’s campaign two weeks ago outside of Phnom Penh, where it faced a mixed reception with some people tearing up and discarding his party’s banners and leaflets.
Since then, KNUP members have filed a complaint to provincial and communal election committees.
“There were three cases that happened in Banteay Meanchey province and four cases in Siem Reap province,” Mr Bun Chhay said.
He said that the party will hold its final campaign rally in Phnom Penh on Friday, but noted that he will not attend due to another rally in Banteay Meanchey province on July 26.
Mr Bun Chhay was deputy commander-in-chief of the country’s military when Funcinpec shared power with the CPP during the 1990s.
In 2016, he left Funcinpec to launch the KNUP, which became the only party outside of the CPP and CNRP to win a commune chief post in the June 2017 commune elections.
However, after the commune elections he was stripped of his role as a government adviser and subsequently jailed on drug production charges linked to a 2007 case in Kampong Speu provicne.
Mr Bun Chhay, who was released on bail in April, addressed the charges hanging over him yesterday, noting that after his release he was brought face-to-face with his accuser, who withdrew his claims.
“The investigating judge and the court did not find any evidence to inculpate me yet,” Mr Bun Chhay added.