Nominee face-offThe Grand National Party has nominated for the first time candidates for all 245 electorate districts nationwide for the April 9 legislative elections.
The United Democratic Party yesterday finalized its candidates for 147 districts, leaving out the Gyeongsang provinces and some other highly contested areas.
The public is watching the upcoming general elections closely. It wants to see how the end of a decade of liberal administration will impact the 299-seat National Assembly, which includes 54 proportionate representatives.
The general elections have become a life-and-death contest for President Lee Myung-bak, should he want to complete the transition of power by winning the legislative majority.
Sohn Hak-kyu, the chairman of the UDP, is also preparing for battle, hoping to build a power base that can check the dominant conservative administration.
Do the GNP and UNP nominations fit their aims?
The decision by the UDP nomination committee chairman, Park Jae-seung, to sacrifice certain candidates prompted competition between the two parties to eliminate high-profile and influential figures from the nomination process.
The UDP’s decision not to nominate close aides to former presidents Roh Moo-hyun and Kim Dae-jung is praiseworthy, although it is unfortunate for those eliminated.
The GNP’s nomination committee, headed by Ahn Kang-min, also ruled out possible nominees who have been convicted of corruption and punished with prison terms.
The decision sets a high ethics bar for election hopefuls.
It was amazing to see the GNP eliminate 27 out of 62 incumbent lawmakers in the Gyeongsang region from the nomination roster, and then to see the UDP rule out 12 of its 31 Jeolla lawmakers.
But there are inconsistencies, though. The GNP said it will not allow multi-term lawmakers and aged candidates to run for election, yet Lee Sang-deuk won a nomination.
Lee is the a deputy speaker of the National Assembly and the oldest member of the National Assembly, with the longest legislative career.
For the UDP, former democratization activists easily won nominations in the capital, prompting comment.
Voters will judge whether the GNP and UDP choices will prove worthy or not in the April 9 elections.