Candidates consolidate as election nears

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Candidates consolidate as election nears

As the June 2 local elections near, more and more opposition candidates are consolidating their bids in a last-ditch effort to wrest votes from the ruling Grand National Party.

Lee Kwang-jae of the Democratic Party and Eom Jae-cheol of the Democratic Labor Party, both of whom had their hat in the ring for the Gangwon governor’s post, have decided to pool their resources behind Lee.

“We will change the fate of Gangwon by having one opposition candidate,” Lee said in a press conference yesterday at the office of the Gangwon Provincial Government.

Supporters of the two candidates hailed the announcement.

“Recent polls showed Lee was behind GNP candidate Lee Ke-jin, and now I’m interested in how the vote turns out,” said one public servant.

Candidates for the Jeju governor’s office also consolidated yesterday.

Hyun Myung-kwan, who lost the GNP nomination for the post days after his sister was arrested for allegedly bribing voters on May 7, and former Seogwipo mayor Kang Sang-ju, who ditched his GNP membership, had been running against each other as independent candidates. Kang threw his support to Hyun after polls showed Hyun outpacing him.

With the consolidation, three candidates are now competing for the governor’s seat: Hyun, who is regarded as a ruling party candidate because he has promised to return to GNP if he wins; Ko Hee-bum of the Democratic Party; and independent Woo Keun-min, a former Jeju governor with the Uri Party (a predecessor of the DP).

Choi, a voter from Gwangmyeong, Gyeonggi, said he’s skeptical about coalition candidates. “I’ve seen a lot of candidates consolidate prior to elections, but I never saw one who made good on their coalition partner’s pledges and policies,” Choi said.

Park Jae-wuk, a politics professor at Silla University, echoed Choi’s ambivalence. “If the decisions were really based on policy alliances, then the trend is good, but it is inappropriate if the consolidations are done mechanically,” Park said.

By Kim Mi-ju, Yang Seong-cheol []
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