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Political Landscape Before By-elections

Posted June. 24, 2002 08:35,   


The political arena is expected to enter a new phase with the parliamentary by-elections scheduled for Aug. 8 right after the World Cup ends. As of Jun. 23, by-elections in 10 constituencies have been confirmed including in Seoul. If three lawmakers from the Chongro, Busan Jin Gap and Bukjejeu constituencies find guilty by the Supreme Court, the number will increase to 13. Given the scale of the by-elections, they can be said as a de facto interim election.

▽ The Grand National Party (GNP)= The party put priority in nominating candidates on the likeliness of being elected as it plans to maintain the momentum picked up in the local elections through the by-elections. The party will postpone the application period and will actively recruit candidates at the party level, if necessary.

As of Jun. 23, the competition rate for the 10 constituencies is 3.3 to 1. There is no applicant in the Incheon Seo, Ganghwa Eul and Gunsan constituencies while a large number of people have applied in the Happo constituency.

MDP Secretary-General Lee Sang-deuk said at a press conference, "The party will open the door to anybody, who in more likely to be elected than the incumbent district chairmen or applicants."

The GNP in considering to recruit former Reps Lee Ki-taek and Park Chan-jong, former independent prosecutor Cha Jung-il and former prosecutor Shim Jea-ryun.

▽The Millennium Democratic Party (MDP)= The MDP is geared up for an all-out war centered around Roh, Moo-hyun, the party`s presidential candidate. The supreme council of the party decided to empower Roh to appoint the chairman of the by-election polling committee.

The party wants candidates who have a competitive edge and don`t make an objection.

Roh is planning to scout for appropriate candidates by himself in the Busan and Gyeongnam regions. The party will nominate new face in an attempt to target the public, who are tired of anachronistic politics.

Roh is reported to contact with reform-minded figures, most of them experts.

Names under discussion include Sohn Seok-hee, a TV anchorman, Ahn Cheol-su, the CEO of Ahn`s Lab and film star, Moon, Seong-geun. Rumor has it that some party leaders, who have prepared for the by-elections, are keeping a low profile and delaying the announcement for candidacy as there has been mounting demand for reform and change since the election rout.

Sung-Won Park Young-Hae Choi swpark@donga.com yhchoi65@donga.com