Liberals choose Park for Seoul race

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Liberals choose Park for Seoul race

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Park Won-soon, center, lawyer-turned-politician running for Seoul mayor, marks his primary victory last night with rivals Park Young-sun, right, of the Democratic Party, and Choi Gyu-youb, left, the Democratic Labor Party’s contender. [NEWSIS]


Park Won-soon, a human rights lawyer and progressive activist, won a primary yesterday to become the sole liberal candidate in this month’s Seoul mayoral by-election.

Park’s victory marked a success in a new political experiment by the liberals, as voters turned their backs on conventional politicians and endorsed an independent candidate without the backing of any political party.

Park was challenged by Park Young-sun of the Democratic Party and Choi Gyu-youb of the Democratic Labor Party in the final stage of the primary yesterday at Jangchung Stadium in Seoul.

After his victory, the 55-year-old candidate promised to cooperate with the Democratic and Democratic Labor parties as well as minor progressive parties and civic groups to win the election against the conservative Grand National Party. He also thanked the liberal voters’ new darling, software mogul Ahn Cheol-soo, for backing him.

“I won this primary without any negative campaign,” Park said. “I am proud to endure the attacks of the GNP and the Blue House.

“On Oct. 26, we will bid farewell to the last train of the old era,” Park said. “That day, we will board the first train of the new era.”

The three candidates were scored in three different ways: through a public opinion poll (counting for 30 percent of their scores), an evaluation of a TV debate that took place Friday (30 percent) and a vote by an electoral college (40 percent). The opinion poll was taken on Saturday and Sunday, while the vote by 30,000 voters took place yesterday.

The voting took place from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m., and the turnout was 59.6 percent.

In terms of total scores in the primary, Park won 52.15 percent, while the DP’s Park Young-sun won 45.57 percent. Choi came in a distant third with 2.28 percent.

Although Park was behind the DP’s Park Young-sun in the electoral college voting at Jamsil stadium, hisvictories in the public opinion poll and TV debate anchored his win. In the stadium voting, Park won 8,279 votes, or 46.31 percent, while Park Young-sun won 9,132 votes or 51.08 percent.

Park won 57.65 percent in the opinion poll of Seoulites, while Park Young-sun won 39.7 percent.

Park won the first round when he was judged the winner of the Friday debate by 54.43 percent of its evaluators, compared to Park Young-sun’s 44.09 percent. Choi scored only 1.48 percent.

Because the election law bars candidates to give stump speeches except at a political party’s event, the three candidates exchanged greetings with voters outside the stadium, but did not make public appeals on the advice of the National Election Commission.

A big factor in yesterday’s vote by the electoral college was which candidate would get more supporters coming to the stadium. Out of 60,384 voters who registered, 30,000 were given seats in a random selection, but no one knew how many would actually show up to vote.

The independent Park fought against the strong organizational power of the Democratic Party after it mobilized members to participate in yesterday’s voting. At a general lawmakers’ assembly at 8 a.m., DP Chairman Sohn Hak-kyu encouraged the lawmakers to make phone calls to the voters in their districts to encourage voting.

At around 10 a.m., buses carrying the DP voters - mostly middle-aged - arrived at Jamsil Stadium.

“We had expected what’s coming, but we really felt a sense of crisis as we saw the massive mobilization,” said a member of Park Won-soon’s campaign said.

After supporters of Park Won-soon used social network services to urge young voters to come to the stadium to cast ballots, the turnout climbed in the afternoon.

“I rushed to come here because Seoul National University Professor Cho Kuk wrote that the young voters’ turnout was low,” Kim Jin-man, a 21-year-old university student, said at the stadium. “But I am surprised to see many young voters here.”

Park’s supporters, including liberal celebrities such as Cho and author Gong Ji-young, posted photos of themselves at the stadium online to encourage young voters’ participation. Around 11 a.m., only 4,593 of 30,000 eligible voters showed up to cast ballots, but the number jumped to 10,000 at 2 p.m. By 5 p.m., more than 50 percent of the eligible voters had voted.

The pattern was a reminder of the dramatic presidential victory of Roh Moo-hyun in 2002. At the time, young voters poured into the polling stations after 2 p.m., and Roh won against Grand National front-runner Lee Hoi-chang.

A similar pattern of turnouts was seen in local elections of June 2010 and by-elections held last April 27.

The DP supporters’ bitterness with business-as-usual politics and traditional politicians also worked in Park Won-soon’s favor.


By Ser Myo-ja, Kim Kyung-jin [myoja@joongang.co.kr]


한글 관련 기사 [중앙일보]

야권 단일후보로 박원순 선출 … 민주당의 굴욕


박원순 야권 단일후보로 … 제1야당이 서울시장 후보 못 내는 초유의 사태


10·26 서울시장 보궐선거에 나설 야권 단일후보로 박원순 변호사가 선출됐다. 박 변호사는 3일 발표된 야권 통합경선 최종 득표 결과 총 52.15%를 얻어 45.57%를 획득한 민주당 박영선 의원을 6.58%포인트 차이로 제치고 1위를 차지했다. 민주노동당 최규엽 새세상연구소장은 2.28%를 얻었다.

 박 변호사의 승리는 ‘안철수(서울대 융합과학기술대학원장) 바람’으로 대변되는 정당 정치에 대한 불신, 그리고 정치권의 변화와 개혁을 바라는 시민들의 열망이 트위터 등 SNS(소셜네트워크서비스)를 타고 확산한 결과다. 이 바람 앞에 야권의 정통성을 자랑해온 민주당의 조직력이 무너졌다. 제1야당인 민주당이 서울시장 선거에 후보를 못 내게 된 건 이번이 처음으로, 민주당과 손학규 대표는 ‘존재의 위기’를 맞게 됐다.

 민주당은 6~7일 후보 등록 전에 박 변호사를 당에 입당시키려고 노력한다는 입장이지만 박 변호사가 민주당 뜻대로 따라줄지 불투명하다. 박 변호사는 야권 단일후보로 선출된 직후 “(민주당 입당 문제에 대해) 고민해 보겠다”고만 말했다.

3일 서울 장충체육관에서 실시된 시민참여경선(전체의 40% 반영)에는 선거인단 3만 명 중 1만7891명이 참가했다(투표율 59.6%). 박 변호사는 8279표(46.31%)를 얻어 9132표(51.08%)를 획득한 박 의원에게 뒤졌으나 SNS를 활용한 선거운동으로 조직력이 강한 박 의원과의 격차를 크게 좁혔다는 평가를 받았다. 이에 앞서 1, 2일 서울시민 2000명을 상대로 실시한 여론조사(30% 반영)에서 박 변호사는 57.65%의 지지를 얻어 박 의원(39.70%)을 크게 앞섰다. 지난달 30일 이뤄진 TV토론에 대한 배심원 평가에서도 박 변호사(54.43%)는 박 의원(44.09%)을 꺾었다.

 박 변호사는 당선 직후 기자회견에서 “변화를 바라는 민심을 최대한 반영하고 민주당과 다른 야당들과도 힘을 합해 서울시장 선거에서 반드시 승리하겠다”고 말했다. 경선에서 패배한 박 의원과 최 소장은 박 변호사의 공동선대본부장을 맡기로 했다. 박 변호사는 시장 당선 후엔 야당·시민사회와 함께 ‘서울시정운영협의회’를 구성키로 했다. 그는 또 ▶무상급식 등 공교육 강화 ▶전시성 토건예산 삭감 ▶뉴타운 사업과 한강 르네상스 사업 재검토 ▶서울시와 산하기관 비정규직의 정규직 전환 등 10대 공동 정책 합의문도 발표했다.

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