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Gwangju mayoral candidates flock to the ex-first lady

Posted May. 17, 2014 01:51,   


Lee Hee-ho, widow of former President Kim Dae-jung, began a two-day visit to Gwangju on Thursday. She paid tributes at the May 18 National Cemetery on the first day and gave a congratulatory speech at the “World Human Rights Cities Forum” on Friday. She was accompanied by Rep. Park Jie-won of the main opposition New Politics Alliance for Democracy.

While she was paying her respects to the cemetery, Yoon Jang-hyun, the opposition party’s candidate for a mayoral seat in Gwangju, and Kang Un-tae and Lee Yong-seop, independent candidates who left the party in protest to the party’s strategic nomination of Yoon, showed up. It is said that three mayoral candidates tried to contact her as soon as Lee’s schedule was released on Wednesday. This appears that they try to win the hearts of the supporters of former President Kim Dae-jung in the region. In response, Lee drew the line, saying, “I will never meet a candidate alone.”

Lee has come to Gwangju every May and stayed for two days. Gwangju mayors have offered an accommodation and a vehicle for her. As incumbent mayor Kang runs as an independent in the upcoming race and Rep. Park who unofficially serves as her chief of staff criticizes the strategic nomination of Yoon, the competition among the candidates was pretty intense. An opposition party member said, “One cared about the fact that Kim Gwan-seon, the former president’s nephew and former city council of Gwangju, is the member of Yoon’s camp.”

Kim Han-gil and Ahn Cheol-soo, the co-leaders of the main opposition party, have decided to visit Gwangju on Saturday to support their candidate. Min Byeong-doo, communications director of the party’s election committee, said, “The New Politics Alliance for Democracy is the son of Gwangju. Gwangju citizens are like parents who feel angry and betrayed about their son who made a decision on his own. If the son apologizes and appeals, saying, ‘Please scold me and accept my friend Jang-hyun,’ their heart will be melt.” The opposition party decided to offer the party’s bus to Kwon Noh-gap, a standing adviser, who will campaign with Yoon.