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3-Term Incumbent Loses Busan Primary

Posted April. 29, 2006 06:36,   


When the result of the opposition Grand National Party’s primary for Busan mayor candidates held on April 27 was released, party officials expressed their surprise, saying, “How could the three-term lawmaker suffer such a crushing defeat?”

The victory of the incumbent Busan Mayor Heo Nam-sik was expected, but no one predicted that three-term lawmaker Kwon Chul-hyun would garner only the half the votes that Heo gained. While Heo garnered 65 percent of the votes, Kwon won only got 34.9 percent.

Experienced incumbent lawmakers were weak in the GNP’s primary for the Gyeongbuk Province governor post as well. Kim Kwang-won, a three-term lawmaker, was at the bottom in the primary, after former Gumi Mayor Kim Kwan-yong and Pohang Mayor Chung Jang-sik.

Suh Sang-kee, the first-term lawmaker of the GNP, was also defeated by Kim Beom-il, a former vice Daegu mayor for political affairs, in the primary for the Daegu mayor post.

Former lawmaker Kim Mun-su is the only lawmaker who was elected as a candidate for the head of local governments. He was elected the GNP candidate for Gyeonggi Province governor. But the primary he won was a “race of lawmakers” in which three lawmakers, Kim Mun-su, Kim Young-sun and Jeon Jae-hee, competed.

In Incheon, Ulsan, Gyeongnam and Gangwon, the incumbent lawmakers even failed to run for the primary because of the overwhelming support for the incumbent governors and mayors.

A leading lawmaker of the GNP said, “As voters are having an increasingly negative perception of politics, lawmakers who elected for many terms seem to have lost their advantages.”

An Uri Party official also said, “With the heads of local governments having been elected by the public for three terms, the influence of local government heads are increasing and that of lawmakers are on the decline.”

Chin-Ku Lee sys1201@donga.com