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Candidates Tread Lightly After Attack

Posted May. 23, 2006 03:00,   


Both ruling and opposition parties restarted their election campaigns yesterday. However, they kept very cautious because of last Saturday’s attack against Grand National Party (GNP) Chairwoman Park Geun-hye. The candidates of GNP have been lying low and expressing their hopes for Park’s recovery. On the other hand, in the ruling Uri Party, some members called for an investigation. While many people predict an election fiasco, some candidates even gave up their election campaign.

At the Uri Party’s Election Polling Committee held yesterday, many members expressed worry, saying, “The GNP will win a landslide victory in this election if such a mood continues,” adding, “We should do all we can do to prevent such thing from happening.” In addition to this, after hearing that the Uri Party candidate for Daejeon mayor, who has maintained a significant lead, has been closely traced by the GNP candidate, party members said, “Let’s just pray God will save us.”

The ruling Uri party in trouble-

Several paid electioneers working for Uri Party candidates in Seoul and its adjacent area districts have left their camps.

Kang Kum-sil, the Uri Party’s candidate for Seoul mayor, released a statement, saying, “The attack against Park is brutal violence against women,” adding, “I feel deeply sorry about this as a woman.” Kang also condemned the Uri Party’s leading members at an interview with MBC radio, “Even though the party’s chairman Chung Dong-young expressed his deep regret for the low approval rate of the party, I don’t think it is sufficient. He has done little since February when the party convention was held.”

Meanwhile, Chin Dae-je, the Uri Party’s candidate for Gyeonggi provincial governor, attempted to differentiate himself from the Uri Party by saying that, “Voters should judge the Uri Party through presidential and general elections. This is a local election to select proper service workers for local governments.”

The Uri Party’s candidates of the Gwangju and Jeonnam regions, the Uri Party’s favorable voting constituency, also avoided mentioning anything about this incident.

The Democratic Party also condemned the current government and the Uri Party for failing to halt such political terror in advance. However, Park Gwang-tae, the Democratic Party’s Gwangju mayoral candidate, said, “I will respond to this incident very carefully because my presumptuous action can be seen as a scheme to gain political benefit by using this incident.”

GNP carefully dealing with the incident-

The GNP resumed its election campaign yesterday that was suspended after Park’s injury. According to Park’s order, saying, “Don’t make a fuss about this,” the party members very carefully dealt with this incident and avoided any action that might cause suspicion of using this event for political gain. They are smoothly shifting its focus on the election campaign now.

In order to express their strong will to tackle problems by working together with one another, GNP members started election polling committees at 8:00 a.m., which used to open at 9:00 a.m. In addition to this, the GNP has replaced a comic campaign advertisement, a parody of TV program Gag Concert, staring its floor leader Lee Jae-oh, to an ad that delivers a message saying, “We deeply appreciate your concern for GNP leader Park.”

Throughout the nation, GNP candidates stopped campaign songs and met voters in person.

Meanwhile, Oh Se-hoon, the GNP’s Seoul mayoral candidate, attended a women’s policy forum yesterday and said “I promise that I will make Seoul a place in which every woman can move around safely,” adding, “Citizens and even the opposition party leader are exposed to outrageous violence now,” He suggested the establishment of a crime prevention line, emergency hot line, and strengthened security services as public pledges.

Kim Moon-soo, the GNP’s candidate for Gyeonggi provincial governor, plans to make a ribbon saying, “We pray for GNP Chairwoman Park Geun-hye’s recovery.” All candidates and electioneers will wear this ribbon during election period. The GNP office of Gyeonggi Province is going to make such ribbons and distribute them to all GNP electioneers in Gyeonggi.

Chin-Ku Lee jin0619@donga.com sys1201@donga.com