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Parliamentary Elections Just Two Days Away

Posted October. 24, 2005 03:03,   


The parliamentary reelections are just two days away. And in the four districts where elections will be held, only small margins exist between the first group and the second group. As the competition among the frontrunners is intense, according to a recent poll, parties placed every bit of their energy in supporting their own candidates on October 23.

In Gwangju, Gyeonggi-do, both Jeong Jin-seop from Grand National Party (GNP) and Hong Sa-deok, an independent and former GNP floor leader, expressed confidence for victory. Hong declared that he will rejoin the GNP if he is elected to the National Assembly. GNP Chairman Park Geun-hye and Kim Deok-ryong, a GNP lawmaker, joined Jeong Jin-seop’s camp to show their support. Surprisingly, Hong Sa-deok appeared during a Jeong campaign event to meet the GNP leadership. He is passionately campaigning to win the election.

Another place of fierce and unpredictable competition is Daegu, according to both the GNP and the Uri Party. Yoo Seung-min, former senior aide to GNP Chairman Park Geun-hye, and Lee Gang-cheol, former senior presidential secretary on civil society, are competing against each other in Daegu.

The Uri Party’s Lee concluded that Daegu is a GNP stronghold and that he has no chance of winning if he chooses to stress his political affiliation too much. As a result, he has declined a helping hand from his own party and tries to underline his role as a “contributor to regional development.” On the other hand, Yoo has received unreserved assistance from the GNP. As of October 22, Chairman Park went to Daegu four times to display her support for Yoo. And on October 23, Lee Hoi-chang, former leader of the GNP, went to Daegu to boost Yoo’s electoral efforts.

In Ulsan, all eyes are on whether the Democratic Labor Party (DLP) will be able to regain its lost seat. Former DLP Rep. Cho Seung-su, whose electoral district was Ulsan, was charged with a violation of the election law and lost his seat. The DLP is desperate for the Ulsan seat because it will be disqualified to introduce a bill by itself if Jeong Gap-deuk, its candidate in Ulsan, is defeated.

In contrast to the DLP’s desperation, the GNP is confident of victory. “We estimate that every time Chairman Park visits Ulsan, 3,000 ballots are added to the GNP candidate. Even now, the gap is widening,” the party said. The GNP is emphasizing the potential synergy effects on Ulsan that might come from both Ulsan mayor Park Maeng-woo and Yoon Doo-hwan, the GNP’s Ulsan hopeful, belonging to the same party.

In Bucheon, the GNP’s Lim Hae-gyu is ahead of the Uri Party’s Lee Sang-su for now. But the Uri Party is pointing to Lee’s growing popularity as the election nears and is even hoping for a come-from-behind victory.

Jung-Eun Lee Kang-Myoung Chang lightee@donga.com tesomiom@donga.com