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Parties Begin Prepping for Local Elections

Posted March. 05, 2010 09:29,   


The ruling and opposition parties began yesterday their full-fledged preparation for the local elections with 90 days to go before the June 2 elections.

Yesterday was the last day for public officials planning on running in the elections to resign from their posts, except lawmakers. Many officials did just that.

Lawmakers must resign before the candidate registration days of May 13-14.

Public Administration and Security Minister Lee Dal-gon resigned to run for governor of South Gyeongsang Province, which President Lee Myung-bak is expected to accept soon. Minister Lee will compete against former Grand National Party Secretary General Lee Bang-ho, who had declared his candidacy earlier.

Kim Dae-sik, secretary general of the Democratic and Peaceful Unification Advisory Council who led the Advanced People’s Solidarity, an organization that helped President Lee in the 2007 presidential election, will run for governor of South Jeolla Province. Kim made the announcement at the National Assembly yesterday.

Former Vice Gender Equality Minster Hwang Joon-ki stepped down to run for mayor of Seongnam, Gyeonggi Province. Chung Jang-sik, head of the Central Officials Training Institute, has quit to seek the governorship of North Gyeongsang Province.

Public officials who will run for municipal or provincial government posts and school superintendents also tendered their resignations.

Accordingly, the ruling and opposition parties set up committees to screen candidates to begin election campaigns.

The ruling Grand National Party convened its supreme council yesterday to establish a candidate screening committee of 15 members, including lawmakers and external figures.

Party secretary general Chung Byeong-kuk told The Dong-A Ilbo, “The people might want to keep in check the ruling party since the administration has reached the midpoint of its term. But we expect good results because local government heads in the capital area belonging to our party have done a good job.”

“To raise public attention to ruling party candidates, we will select most candidates for local governments by intra-party ballot.”

The main opposition Democratic Party will reportedly turn the local elections into a mid-term assessment of the Lee Myung-bak administration. The party seeks to win votes by labeling President Lee’s administrative method as “unilateral.”

The opposition party’s candidate screening committee will start selecting candidates, beginning with the one for Daejeon mayor March 27. The ballot will be held every week and end April 24 with the candidate nomination for Seoul mayor.

The focus, however, is on an internal conflict over the introduction of a civil jury system for candidates and the proposed joint candidates with the People’s Participation Party.

sunshade@donga.com jin0619@donga.com