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Will Lee return to the political stage in the by-elections?

Will Lee return to the political stage in the by-elections?

Posted May. 05, 2022 07:48,   

Updated May. 05, 2022 07:48


The ruling Democratic Party (DP) has chosen all seven constituenciesㅡSuseong B in Daegu, Gyeyang B in Incheon, Bundang A in Seongnam, Wonju A in Gangwon, Boryeong-Seocheon in South Chungcheong, Uichang in Changwon, and Jeju B ㅡset for the upcoming by-elections, which will be held alongside the June 1 local elections, as their strategic constituencies. Regarding the likelihood of the former Gyeonggi Governor Lee Jae-myung winning the party’s strategic nomination, the party leadership said they will leave the door open for all possibilities, sparking speculation that the former Gyeonggi Governor might soon be back on the political stage.

After an emergency response committee meeting at the National Assembly on Wednesday, DP spokesperson Shin Hyun-young said the party has strategically nominated candidates for four out of seven constituencies and will discuss how to select candidates for the remaining constituencies. The party has chosen Kim Han-kyu, former presidential secretary for political affairs, for Jeju B district, Kim Yong-rak, acting regional chairperson, for Suseong B, former Wonju Mayor Won Chang-mook for Wonju A, and Na So-yeol, regional chairperson, for Boryeong-Seocheon. The candidates for Gyeyang B and Bungdang A, the districts that are receiving attention for the possibility of political big shots such as Lee Jae-myung and Ahn Chul-soo entering the candidacy, were not announced on Wednesday.

DP Spokesperson Shin went on to say that the party will discuss which candidates to field and how to hold primaries for the remaining constituencies, adding discussions will be held as early as Friday or next week at the latest at the emergency response committee. Regarding the likelihood of Lee Jae-myung winning the party’s strategic nomination, Shin said the issue was not discussed at Wednesday’s meeting but they will review the rest of the candidates either this week or next week as the issue should be dealt with quickly. The DP plans to complete the nomination for the by-elections and local elections by May 10.

There are voices within the party calling for Lee’s appearance in the by-elections. As public opinion for Lee’s return has been formed outside the party, some members of the DP are pushing for Lee’s nomination. Song Young-gil, DP’s candidate for Seoul mayor, told Newsis that when President-elect Yoon Suk-yeol is making tours around the country with his party candidates as if he is participating in an election campaign, telling Lee Jae-myung, who earned 16 million votes and lost to Yoon by 0.73 percentage point in the presidential election, to be stuck in a back room is an act benefiting the enemy. In a press conference held on Wednesday, 18 provincial candidates of DP in Incheon said Lee must not only support the election campaign, but also enter the by-elections in order to win the elections.

Ji-Hyun Kim jhk85@donga.com