The result of the third and last round of electoral college voting to elect a presidential candidate of the Democratic Party of Korea announced on Sunday was the complete opposite of the past voting trend. Gyeonggi Province Gov. Lee Jae-myung and former party leader Lee Nak-yon were speechless for a while at the result of 28.3 percent for Lee Nak-yon and 62.37 percent for Lee Jae-myung. The result, which was ahead of the governor’s confirmation as a presidential candidate, shows the party supporters’ distrust in his claims about the “Daejang-dong gate.”
The voting rate of 81.39 percent, which was jointly participated by the public and general party members, is noticeable. The first and the second electoral college votes were led by the organizational efforts of each camp while the third round had a much higher participation rate of individuals. The last one was voted by 248,880 people, which shows that the public sentiment about the Daejang-dong issue was belatedly reflected.
In fact, the Daejang-dong issue was at the stage of press raising suspicions until the second electoral college voting. However, things changed drastically before the third round. The prosecution, which has been slow at progressing investigation, imprisoned Yoo Dong-gyu who was in charge of the Daejang-dong project as an acting president of Seongnam Development Corporation on Oct. 2 for bribery and negligence. The warrant states the charge of negligence that he did not include a provision to recapture excess gains from a private developer, which led to excessive dividends of 404 billion won for Hwacheon Daeyu and loss for Seongnam City. The anxiety that the prosecution’s investigation may target Gov. Lee as a designer and final person in charge of the development project has spread among democratic supporters.
Prior to the third electoral college voting that began on Wednesday, Gov. Lee drew a line by saying that he was not close to Yoo and asking whether the president should resign if an employee of Korea Electric Power Corporation receives a bribe. He also said that the Daejang-dong development project was successful and deserves praise and that the People Power Party is a bunch of thieves. However, such an attitude seems to have worsened people’s distrust. The essence of the issue is why such a profit distribution structure was put in place for a private developer to pocket astronomical gains. As he compared himself responsible for the overall project to an “employee” without answering the essential question, it’s only natural that people’s distrust rose.
While Gov. Lee defined the Daejang-dong issue as the “People Power Party gate” based on the fact that former People Power Party member Kwak Sang-do’s son received five billion won in severance pay, the public sees the core of the issue. The presidential candidate said that he would take the voting result as people’s scolding to work humbly but also added that it might be partially affected by the instigation of the opposition party and fake news. The members of his party are becoming increasingly concerned that the candidate won’t be able to escape the aftermath of the Daejang-doing issue with such responses.