Candidates register for by-elections

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Candidates register for by-elections

Registration will begin today for candidates in by-elections for eight parliamentary seats, setting up another showdown between rival parties after the ruling bloc’s defeat in last month’s local elections.

The National Election Commission said yesterday it will receive candidate registrations for two days for the July 28 election. The official 13-day campaign will begin Thursday.

The ruling Grand National Party, which lost key mayoral and gubernatorial posts in last month’s local elections, is hoping for a turnaround in the balloting that has been compared to a “mini-general election.”

The race is also regarded as a referendum on the Lee Myung-bak administration, which will enter the second half of its five-year term next month.

The Grand National Party plans to appeal to voters to keep the main opposition Democratic Party, which won the June 2 local elections, in check and give the Lee administration the stability to manage state affairs for the remainder of its term.

The Democratic Party is aggressively campaigning to ask voters to give the party the power to change the Lee government’s key policies.

One of the heavily watched constituency is Eungpyeong B district in northwestern Seoul, and whether Lee Jae-oh, a close aide to President Lee and former chairman of the Anti-Corruption and Civil Rights Commission, will be able to make a political comeback.

A former three-term lawmaker of the GNP, Lee left politics after suffering a humiliating defeat to Moon Kook-hyun, then leader of the minor opposition Creative Korea Party, in the 2008 general elections in the same district.

Moon, however, was stripped of his seat last year after being convicted in a bribery scandal, and his seat has been vacant since.

Lee Jae-oh will run against Chang Sang, a supreme council member of the Democratic Party.

In addition to the district in Seoul, by-elections will take place in seven other places including three districts in Gangwon.

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