Parties take off gloves as referendum vote nears

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Parties take off gloves as referendum vote nears

The ruling and opposition parties began an all-out war over the free school lunch program, 10 days ahead of the referendum that will decide its fate.

Seoul Mayor Oh Se-hoon, who has led the charge to provide free lunches to only students from low-income families, is campaigning to bring voters to the polls on Aug. 24, as referendum results are only valid when turnout is more than 33.3 percent.

The ruling Grand National Party’s Seoul chapter yesterday increased the stakes in support of Oh’s position.

Representative Lee Jong-koo, head of the GNP’s Seoul chapter, said electoral districts that fail to have 33.3 percent turnout could be penalized in next year’s legislative election nominations, urging ruling party lawmakers to put more effort into attracting voters.

“If the turnout is lower than 25 percent, there will be no point talking about whether [Oh] should keep the mayoral post or not,” Lee said. “That means he will just have to quit.”

The GNP yesterday began a massive public campaign, ordering at least 1,440 banners to be hung around Seoul. It also said 10,000 flyers will be distributed.

The party also said it will make phone calls to the public in an attempt to boost turnout.

The opposition Democratic Party, meanwhile, has organized a task force to discourage the public from participating in the referendum.

Until recently, Democrats had quietly carried out a campaign to discourage voters in order to invalidate the referendum with a low turnout. But the strategy changed after the public began showing more interest since Oh’s Friday announcement that he intended to stay out of the next presidential election in order to promote his position on the referendum.

The DP decided to take out ads in free newspapers that are distributed at subway stations around Seoul starting on Wednesday to express its strong opposition to the referendum. It also decided to strengthen catchphrases printed on its 500 banners in Seoul to make them sound more aggressive.


By Yim Seung-hye, Kang Ki-heon [sharon@joongang.co.kr]


한글 관련 기사 [연합뉴스]

주민투표 D-9…여야간 힘겨루기 본격화

서울시 무상급식 주민투표(24일)를 9일 앞둔 15일 투표에서 우위를 점하기 위한 여야간 힘겨루기가 본격화 된다.

오세훈 서울시장은 이날 여의도 한나라당사에서 기자간담회를 갖고 전면 무상급식 논란을 풀어내기 위한 정치권의 적극적 움직임을 촉구할 예정이다.

또 한나라당 서울시당은 현수막 1천400여개를 붙이고 유세차를 동원해 시내 중심가에서 선전전을 벌이는 한편, 투표율 제고를 위한 전화ㆍ문자 홍보활동을 벌인다.

민주당도 이에 맞서 무가지 광고와 유세차, 플래카드, 당원조직을 총동원해 투표불참 운동에 나설 계획이다.

아울러 한나라당의 주민투표 현수막이 방과후 무료학습, 저소득층 교육지원 등 주민투표와 직접 관련없는 내용을 담고 있어 주민투표법 위반 소지가 농후하다는 판단에 따라 법률검토를 거쳐 고발하는 방안도 추진키로 했다.

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