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Five Contenders Win Primary Race Tickets

Posted September. 06, 2007 07:27,   


Former Gyeonggi Governor Sohn Hak-gyu topped the preliminary vote to advance to the United New Democratic Party’s (UNDP) presidential nomination race yesterday. Former Unification Minister Chung Dong-young was the runner up.

Former Prime Minister Lee Hae-chan garnered the third largest number of votes, followed by Han Myeong-sook, the nation`s first female prime minister. The final candidate for the primary was former Minister of Health and Welfare Rhyu Si-min. Lee Mok-hee, vice president of the UNDP primary committee, announced the results in a briefing held at the National Assembly on Wednesday.

Former lawmaker Choo Mi-ae, former Justice Minister Cheon Jeong-bae, former Government Administration and Home Affairs Minister Kim Doo-kwan, and former Uri Party Chairman Shin Ki-nam were eliminated from the list of primary contenders. The party election committee did not disclose the number of votes each contender won.

The party primary is likely to be a fierce battle between the anti-Roh candidates Sohn and Chung, and pro-Roh contenders: the two former prime ministers and Rhyu.

In the meantime, controversy is escalating over the results of the pre-primary since only 4,714 voters of the 10,000-member Electoral College gave a valid response to its primary survey. That means that 53 percent of the votes were counted as invalid. The finding raises suspicions that some voters were registered as members of the Electoral College without their knowledge.

The survey results of the UNDP pre-primary race obtained by Dong-A Ilbo show the number of electoral voters in Honam region stood at 196,500 or 29.3 percent among the total registered voters of 670,000 as of the end of August. That figure was three times higher than that of population ratio of the region.

Kim Deok-gyu, the chair of the primary race committee, announced the results at the National Assembly memorial hall that the winners were determined by two separate opinion polls made up of 10,000 registered Electoral College members and 2,400 citizens chosen at random.

The UNDP is expected to hold six or seven televised debates starting on September 6, and 12 rallies nationwide. The party is scheduled to hold its presidential primary in 16 provinces, starting in Ulsan and Jeju Island, and declare its nominee for the presidential election on October 15.