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From Thirteen to Six Presidential Candidates

Posted June. 30, 2007 04:14,   


Former Uri Party Chairman Chung Dong-young, who has recently defected from the party, will officially announce his run for the 17th presidential election at the CCMM building in Yeouido, Seoul on July 3. Through the official announcement, Chung will also unveil his vision for presidency by emphasizing his focus on finding a “happy medium” in politics, while stressing the importance of a strong middle class and small- and medium-sized enterprises. Also presented will be his initiative that by 2020 Korea would establish an economic community with North Korea, and it would conduct a moon exploration thanks to technological development. At his official announcement, approximately 50 lawmakers associated with the ruling party will gather together, showing their support for Chung. Among them will be his political associates including lawmaker Kim Hyun-mee, Park Young-sun, Jung Chung-rae and Chae Soo-chan.

Lawmaker Chun Jung-bae, a member of the Political Group for People’s Livelihood (PGPL), will also make public his intention to jump into the presidential race. Chun said on June 29 that he would declare his presidential candidacy by July 8 at the earliest. He also added, “I will present my vision to bring about stability to the livelihood of the Korean people and build an even fairer society.” Lawmaker Rhyu Si-min, who has spent most of his time writing books after stepping down as welfare and health minister last month, will also end a time of low-key seclusion and start political activity in full swing.

Lawmaker Rhyu, who is often viewed as a strong presidential dark horse in the pro-Roh (current President Roh Moo-hyun) camp, will give a lecture on the “Strategy for National Development for the 21st Century” at an event by Hope Busan 21 in the port city of Busan on July 4. Hope Busan 21 is an organization comprising former and incumbent chairmen of party consultation in Busan. As so many presidential hopefuls are intent on entering the race, the need to clarify the candidate list is increasing. So far, 13 presidential candidates have been selected by the Committee for the Promotion of an Open Primary System, which consists of ruling party defectors and elders of civic organizations. Among them are Rhee In-je from the Democratic Party and former lawmakers Kim Young-whan and Choo Mi-ae. The committee is now trying to find ways to cut the number of candidates down to six to make debates on television possible before an open primary is held.

The most likely way to pick six candidates is by conducting a public survey on the matter. However, if the gap on support ratings for each candidate is not that distinctively different, strong resistance is expected among the candidates who cannot make the cut to the final. Hence, the decision will be anything but smooth and easy.