Oh secures GNP ticket for Seoul race

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Oh secures GNP ticket for Seoul race


Na Kyung-won, left, gives Oh Se-hoon a GNP campaign jacket yesterday after Oh was chosen over her as the ruling party’s candidate for the Seoul mayor’s race at Jamsil Gymnasium, southern Seoul. [NEWSIS]

Incumbent Seoul Mayor Oh Se-hoon won the ruling Grand National Party’s nomination yesterday to run for a second term in the June 2 local elections.

Oh won by a landslide in the primary held at the Jamsil Gymnasium in southern Seoul, beating lawmaker Na Kyung-won, who had sought to become Seoul’s first female mayor, and lawmaker Kim Choong-hwan, who has served three terms as the head of Gangdong District office in Seoul.

In an acceptance speech, Oh said, “With this glorious victory, I will certainly win the election. I will make Seoul free of corruption and worries of private education costs. I will make Seoul the fifth best city in the world.”

Oh particularly emphasized his zero-tolerance for corruption. “Corrupt forces are besieging the Grand National Party. I will not tolerate them and I will protect Seoul and the Grand National Party from corrupt forces,” he said.

Oh won 68.4 percent, or 3,216, of the 4,702 votes cast, while Na and Kim received 24.9 percent and 6.7 percent respectively.

The candidate was elected by a mixture of on-the-scene voting by individuals (weighted for 80 percent of the total result) and the findings of preliminary polls (20 percent) by three different research institute surveys. Voters present at the primary included the party’s Seoul district representatives, common party members and general citizens.

Accepting her defeat, Na said, “I did my best without any regrets in the primary. I will do my best to bring victory in the Seoul mayoral election to the party.”

Political observers say Oh won the primary by a large margin because voters consider him a strong candidate to beat Han Myeong-sook, former prime minister under the late President Roh Moo-hyun’s administration, who may be the candidate of the opposition Democratic Party.

In recent several polls, Oh was the only contender who outdistanced Han.

The Democratic Party’s mayoral primary will be held Thursday, and Han is competing against Lee Kye-ahn, a former lawmaker of the Uri Party, a predecessor of the Democratic Party.

“Han will ask voters to compare Oh’s slogan ‘Design City Seoul’ with Han’s slogan ‘Special city for the people’,” said Im Jong-seok, a spokesman for Han yesterday.

Political observers say Oh won’t necessarily have an easy race, even though he enjoys a 10 percent lead in opinion polls against Han. He will have to defend his performance as mayor, and as the Seoul mayoral post is considered a stepping stone to the presidency, both parties are expected to employ negative campaign tactics, political observers say.

By Kim Mi-ju [mijukim@joongang.co.kr]

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