There are plenty of feuds and scandals over the nominations for the June 1 local elections. Both the People Power Party (PPP) and the Democratic Party (DP) are fighting every day over the exclusion of specific politicians from the nomination. Politicians, who did not even get a chance to compete, are protesting. There are no clear criteria for strategic nomination and primaries. Visions for the local elections are nowhere to be seen. What politicians are only interested in is who will seize the initiative within the party.
Tensions have eventually flared within the DP over the party’s pick for the Seoul mayoral candidate. The party’s strategic nomination committee decided to rule out Rep. Song Young-gil from the selection on the reasons such as his role in party’s defeat in the presidential election. Rep. Song protested saying it is a “preemptive strike against Lee Jae-myung’s return to politics.” It was also pointed out that different criteria was applied in selecting former Cheong Wa Dae Chief of Staff Noh Young-min as the party’s single candidate for governor of North Chungcheong Province. The committee refuted by saying it is an insult to talk about nomination by factions. The committee explained that the decision was made to exclude less-competitive and controversial candidates first from the list of nominees but it looks like infighting has begun within the party.
As for the PPP, the controversy surrounding the “Yoon sentiment” is continuing as figures close to President-elect Yoon Suk-yeol have been nominated as the candidates for Gyeonggi governor and South Chungcheong governor. The party even shut out a politician from the nomination for Gangwon governor and selected a former KBS anchor, who was responsible for making strategies for President-elect Yoon’s television debates, as its single candidate, and backtracked on its decision later. It is all because there were no clear criteria for the nominations. There are controversies surrounding the party nominations everywhere. In Ulsan, a former mayor, who was excluded from the list of three nominees for the primary, declared that he would run as an independent candidate, saying the party is monopolizing its decisions without clear criteria.
They say party nominations are a “league of their own” but it does not mean they can to whatever they want. This is because the huge subsidies for political parties and election subsidies are paid with taxpayers’ money. This is why all nomination process should be fair and transparent. In the 2016 general elections, then ruling conservative Saenuri Party suffered a huge defeat due to its nomination scandal. This shows how much the nomination process is important. The public sentiment on the local elections can be completely different from the result of the presidential election. The public will judge which party’s nominations of candidates were fair and which party presents a vision for regional development.