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Rep. Roh Proposing Decision of Candidate through Primary Elections

Rep. Roh Proposing Decision of Candidate through Primary Elections

Posted November. 03, 2002 22:33,   


As Roh Moo-hyun, presidential candidate of the Millennium Democratic Party (MDP) has made an official proposal to Rep. Chung Mong-joon of National Unity 21 on November 3 that they unify their candidacy, debates in the days to come over selecting one candidate between the two are emerging as an important factor in the presidential election.

At ceremony to launch an election preparation committee held in front of the MDP office in Yeouido, Seoul, Rep. Roh said, "Rep. Chung and I have some policies in common, while we have different ones from each other, too. Therefore, the unification of the candidacy should be accompanied by national consensus and public endorsement. It should be done through open TV debates and primary elections for strict verification." He also urged Mr. Chung to give his answer to the proposal by the night of November 5, when the launching rally of National Unity 21 is held.

Rep. Roh add that in the beginning he was opposed to the political merger, but he changed his mind to prevent Lee Hoi-chang, Presidential nominee of the Grand National Party (GNP) from coming to power. He said that if he took the power, he would stoke a kind of fear against a war on the Korean Peninsula and go back to old politics.

Chung Dae-chul, chief of the election preparation committee of the MDP related, "Starting November 20, public relations materials including leaflets will go into print. So the primary elections should be held around November, 10 and a single candidate between the two should be decided by November, 18. In previous unofficial contacts with Chung`s camp, there were signs of agreement over the primary elections."

As for Rep. Roh`s proposal, Rep. Chung avoided to directly talk about the primary elections just saying, "I already showed my position that the two camp should put up one candidate who is competitive enough to beat GNP candidate Lee Hoi-chang."

Kang Sin-ok, chief of the launching preparation committee of National Unity 21 said that primaries or anything could be accepted if they were held in a fare manner but his camp could not agree on the primary elections that the MDP was proposing.

He also added, "Rep. Chung will go out of his way to put up one candidate, if only in a way that guarantees success in the presidential race. His camp is considering ways including taking advantage of opinion polls or drawing agreement between both candidates without mobilizing a lot of people.

Sung-Won Park Jeong-Hun Kim swpark@donga.com jnghn@donga.com