The People Power Party’s (PPP) candidate Kim Eun-hye was defeated by a tight margin by Democratic Party of Korea’s (DPK) candidate Kim Dong-yeon in a nerve-racking battle of the Gyeonggi governor election. Given a wholehearted support from President Yoon Suk-yeol, she was seeking to become the first-ever female provincial governor but suffered a defeat by 0.15 percentage points.
“I congratulate Mr. Kim who was elected governor of the Gyeonggi Province. As we need a bipartisan effort to make the province prosper, I hope Mr. Kim will cooperate with the Yoon administration for just policymaking and live up to our people’s expectations,” said Kim on the morning of May 2 at the election polling committee’s situation room in a building of PPP’s Gyeonggi Party in Suwon, Gyeonggi Province.
Some within the ruling party are pointing at independent candidate Kang Yong-seok to be held responsible for Kim’s failure. The election results showed that Kang won 54,758 votes (0.95%), which is far bigger than the vote divide between the PPP’s candidate and her rival, triggering speculation that Kim’s defeat was attributable to conservative votes that moved to Kang. “Looking at the result, I think it could have been different if we unified with the candidate Kang,” said Kwon Seong-dong, the PPP floor leader in a YTN radio interview on June 2.
Meanwhile, there are some voices that the race was lost but well-fought in some regard, as she successfully gave a boost to the party’s approval ratings in Gyeonggi Province. In the latest presidential election on March 9, DPK candidate Lee Jae-myung won more votes than the then PPP candidate and incumbent President Yoon by 5.3 percentage points. As Kim Eun-hye dropped out of her position as a National Assembly member to run for Gyeonggi Governor, there seems to be a possibility of her joining the next cabinet of the Yoon administration.