Go to contents

When Will the Presidential Race Start in Earnest?

Posted November. 08, 2007 03:03,   


The political outlook of the nation is becoming increasingly murky as the presidential candidate registration date is only 17 days from now.

Lee Hoi-chang, the former leader of the Grand National Party (GNP), broke with the party on November 7 after announcing his intention to run in the upcoming presidential election as an independent. His move will inevitably divide the conservative circle that has been promoting itself as an alternative to “the incapable leftist government.”

Yet Lee Hoi-chang has not ruled out the possibility of uniting with GNP presidential candidate Lee Myung-bak. Chung Dong-young of the United New Democratic Party’s presidential candidate, Lee In-je of the Democratic Party, and Moon Guk-hyeon of the Creative Korean Party are seeking to present a united candidate. It is as if a second primary is taking place.

With the recent slush fund scandal involving Samsung Group and the conflict visible within the main opposition party, the pan-ruling party is rapidly seeking joint candidacy tickets among Chung, Lee, and Moon based on the common cause of anti- corruption. Yet the outlook for such a joint candidacy is not rosy. However, a joint candidacy within the ruling camp is still vague as some Democratic Party legislators withdrew from the party.

In a press conference on November 7, Lee Hoi-chang said that he was prepared ‘to scarify for the noble cause of changing the regime,’ alluding to the possibility of uniting with Lee Myung-bak. It is, however, unclear whether that would be possible as the two candidates’ support bases are basically the same.

In the political sector, some speculate that if the current approval ratings continue as they have, with Lee Myung-bak ranking first and Lee Hoi-chang second, regardless of whether the ruling party circle presents a joint candidacy, they would run for the election as separate entities. In this regard, some project that there will be a political reorganization along ‘orthodox conservatives’ versus ‘moderate conservatives’, before the general election scheduled in April next year.

The current political circumstances put voters in a position where they may have to choose their next leader without knowing who will register as presidential candidate and who will run in the race until December 19.