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Discussions about candidate unification between Yoon and Ahn emerge

Discussions about candidate unification between Yoon and Ahn emerge

Posted February. 08, 2022 07:57,   

Updated February. 08, 2022 07:57


An issue of unifying candidates between opposition parties emerged. Yoon Suk-yeol, the presidential candidate of the People Power Party said in a media interview on Sunday that he would not exclude unification with Ahn Cheol-soo, the candidate of the People Party. Senior members of the election preparation committee of the People Power Party also began to have discussions by saying that it is time and the possibility is open. Ahn drew a line by saying that publicly discussing the unification itself is not genuine but it doesn’t seem like he completely denies the possibility.

According to opinion polls 30 days before the presidential election, Yoon and Lee Jae-myung, the candidate of the Democratic Party of Korea, are close to each other in approval ratings while people prefer to see the opposition party win. Ahn’s approval rating is around 10 percent. The candidate registration period is coming soon on February 13 through 14. Printing of ballot papers on February 28 and early voting on March 4 through 5 should also be considered. If the opposition parties are to unify their candidates, it cannot be further postponed.

“Ahn ran for president to change the current government,” said Yoon. “If we are to unify, it is a matter to be decided strictly between Ahn and I, rather than disclosing it publicly.” The statement seems to indicate that the cause of the unification would be a change of the government and the method would be direct negotiations. Of course, it is still unclear whether unification negotiations will begin. “Unification is for a candidate who is in the second or third place,” Lee Jun-seok and other hawkish members say, opposing the unification. Even though candidates decided to start negotiations, a final agreement is far from being reached. Ahn may insist on the method of surveying the competitiveness of a single candidate.

While the change of the government can become the goal of the opposition parties, it itself cannot be the cause of the unification. A blueprint should be developed about what national vision and policies the two candidates share who proposed “fairness and commonsense” and “555 growth strategy,” respectively, and how the two will jointly run the government if one of them is to win the election. If they are to pursue unification, the beginning, progress, and results of negotiations should be transparently disclosed so that the public can decide whether to support it.

Without the two-round system, candidate unification has been a recurring issue in the past presidential election. While there is a precedence that the DJP coalition experimented with a joint government, but it was the division of posts, rather than the dispersion of power. If the two continue to fight over who will represent the parties, share of the cabinet,m or nomination rights for a local election in June with less than a month left till the election, they might lose everything.