Go to contents

Proxies of President Roh, Opposition Party Leader Face Off in Upcoming Election

Proxies of President Roh, Opposition Party Leader Face Off in Upcoming Election

Posted October. 01, 2005 07:43,   


In the Dongho shopping district, Dong-ku, Daegu, at 5:00 p.m. on September 29, Lee Kang-cheol, a ruling Uri Party’s preliminary candidate for a reelection in Dong B district, was greeted by local residents as he made his campaign rounds, and wished him victory.

This welcoming gesture is very rare for the area because the atmosphere in Daegue is not favorable to the Uri Party at all. A taxi driver said, “Some people say we should choose the candidate Lee, a friend of President Roh Moo-hyun, to accelerate the development of the local economy in Daegue. Yet, even one visit of the Grand National Party’s (GNP) chairwoman Park Geun-hye to the region can make a huge difference.”

Lee, who served as the presidential secretary for Civil Society, appealed to voters by highlighting his career as a champion of local economy development, instead of focusing on the party.

Decisive factors for this election district include how the GNP will manage the 15 candidates who have applied for public nomination to the party, minimize the aftermath of the nomination, and how the scandal where some lawmakers are suspected of using abusive words while drinking after the National Assembly’s inspection of the administration will unfold.

The Wonmi A district, Bucheon, Gyeonggi province is also not necessarily favorable to the Uri Party. Lee Sang-su, the Uri Party’s former campaign chief in the 2002 presidential election, is running for re-election there. The three-time lawmaker served a sentence for his involvement in the illicit campaign fundraising for the presidential election, and was granted a pardon and reinstated on the Liberation Day.

The rivalry between the two parties seems intense because even the election offices of the two rival parties are located on the same floor in the same building. Yet, currently, candidate Lee lags behind.

It seems as though the GNP is taking the upper hand based on its higher popularity ratings, thanks in part to candidate Yim Hae- kyu, who served as a director for lawmaker Kim Mun-su in Sosa, Bucheon, and as a three-time city council member before running for the 17th general election.

The Millennium Democratic Party (MDP) also nominated a young lawyer, Cho Yong-ik, as a candidate, and Lee Geun-sun, chief of the labor union at Sejong Hospital, is a candidate for the Democratic Labor Party (DLP).

In Ulsan Buk district, where the former DLP lawmaker Cho Seung-su lost his seat at the National Assembly on September 29, it is drawing attention whether the Uri Party and the LDP will have one candidate in coalition or no nominees at all.

A key official at the Uri party did not rule out the possibility of coalition with the DLP saying, “We can make a strategic decision when we cannot find a competitive candidate after receiving applications for nomination on October 4 and 5.”

Hyundai Motor’s plant is located in the district, so workers at Hyundai Motor and its affiliates and families of the workers account for about 70 percent of the voters. This is why the DLP is confident it will win again based on the votes from the labor union.

On the other hand, the GNP, which lost the previous general election in this district, is committed to regain the seat based on the increasing popularity of the party.

In Gwanju, Gyeonggi Province, the GNP is struggling with nomination troubles. The party’s nominee assessment committee selected Jeong Jin-seop, a special assistant for policy to the governor of Gyeonggi Province as the candidate out of 14 applicants, but the confirmation of the nomination was postponed at the party’s steering committee on September 29. The delay can be attributed to his low recognition and the change of his birth place posted on the website of Anyang people’s alliance from Seoul at the time of the 17th general election, to Namjong, Gwangju.

On the other hand, the Uri Party is focusing its energy to obtain more votes by nominating Lee Jong-sang, who lost the National Assembly seat by a narrow margin of about 600 votes, while the MDP nominated Lee Sang-yun, who also ran for the 17th general election, as its candidate.

Dong-Chul Kim eastphil@donga.com