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Opposition candidates for Seoul mayor clash over proposed candidacy merger

Opposition candidates for Seoul mayor clash over proposed candidacy merger

Posted June. 07, 2018 07:15,   

Updated June. 07, 2018 07:15


The negotiations between two opposition candidates for Seoul mayor for the proposed unification of their candidacy are becoming a chicken game, as neither of them is willing to give up his candidacy.

Kim Moon-soo, the main opposition Liberty Korea Party’s (LKP) candidate for Seoul mayor, has reaffirmed his position that he will not be the first one to sit at the negotiating table, although he keeps open the possibility of unifying the candidacy with Ahn Cheol-soo of the minor opposition Bareunmirae Party. Kim told reporters on Wednesday that he has no plan to meet with Ahn and that he has never received any proposal from Ahn regarding unifying their campaigns.

“If you ask me whether I am against merging the candidacy, I would say no,” Kim said. Kim Sun-dong, the head of Kim’s campaign, called for Ahn’s concession because he is falling behind Kim in opinion polls, insisting that he would have greater political possibilities if he makes a concession to prevent incumbent Seoul Mayor Park Won-soon of the ruling Democratic Party from getting re-elected.

Ahn views Thursday, when early voting for those who cannot go to the polls on the election day begins, as the first deadline for the negotiation of the proposed candidacy merger. He claims that Kim should make a concession to a candidate who can beat Park. “We should have a negotiation even at dawn on Thursday to make a result before the early voting begins at 6:00 a.m.,” said an official at Ahn’s camp. “If that does not happen, we will seek a candidacy merger until the last minute before the election day.”

The two sides continued their arguments on the proposed merger to a degree of an emotional fight, after a text message between Kim Keun-sik, a Kyungnam University professor and Ahn’s spokesman, and Cha Myung-jin, Kim’s spokesman, was made public. In the message, Professor Kim asked if the LKP was leading the realignment of the opposition parties by bypassing its leader Hong Joon-pyo. Cha replied by mentioning what was “wrong” about Ahn’s logic for the proposed candidacy merger.

On his Facebook page, Professor Kim wrote that he would “end his personal relationship” with Cha, who he claimed was “playing with the media.” Cha also wrote on his Facebook page that he was “concerned” if Ahn was surrounded by manipulative aides or Ahn himself was such a person.

Go-Ya Choi best@donga.com