Ahn fires up mayoral by-election

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Ahn fires up mayoral by-election

테스트

Ahn Cheol-soo, left, doctor-turned-software-mogul, renews his support for Park Won-soon, right, independent liberal candidate for Seoul mayoral race, at Park’s campaign headquarters yesterday in Anguk-dong, central Seoul. [YONHAP]

On the eve of the Seoul mayoral by-election, liberal darling Ahn Cheol-soo visited the campaign office of Park Won-soon yesterday to renew his support for the independent candidate in a neck-and-neck competition against the ruling Grand National Party’s rival Na Kyung-won.
With Ahn’s decision to step actively campaign, tomorrow’s election abruptly turned into a preview of the next year’s presidential race. That’s because Na is backed by Park Geun-hye, former GNP chairwoman and the ruling party’s long-time frontrunner to run in the presidential election in 14 months.

Park Won-soon is supported by Ahn, a software mogul who became a political phenomenon overnight, and who some think will run for the presidency on the liberals’ behalf. Park is also supported by other presidential hopefuls, including Democratic Party Chairman Sohn Hak-kyu.

Last month, word leaked out that Ahn, currently the dean of the Seoul National University Graduate School of Convergence Science and Technology, might run in tomorrow’s by-election and the public went wild, especially youthful voters. He decided not to and threw his support behind liberal activist Park, making him a viable candidate. Park beat Na in early opinion polls, although the GNP candidate recently caught up, and the race is now neck-and-neck.

Ahn kept a low profile and didn’t campaign for Park. But on Sunday night, Song Ho-chang, Park’s spokesman, announced that Ahn has decided to help Park. Ahn visited Park’s campaign office in central Seoul yesterday and reiterated his backing.

테스트

Park Geun-hye, left, former chairwoman of the Grand National Party, stumps for Na Kyung-won, right, GNP nominee in the Seoul mayoral by-election, in Times Square, of Yeongdeungpo, western Seoul, on Oct. 15. [NEWSIS]

“I have rooted for you from a distance,” Ahn said. “I hope you can achieve what you want by working hard.”

During his 20-minute meeting with Park yesterday, Ahn said he hoped for Park’s victory so that no more smear campaigns can take place in Korea, Song said. Ahn also expressed a hope for a high turnout, possibly over 60 percent, Song said.

Ahn also gave a two-page letter to him and Park’s campaign quickly made it public.

In his letter, Ahn cited the 1955 decision by Rosa Parks, an African-American woman, to refuse to give up her seat on a bus to a white passenger. He wrote that her decision was a turning point in the civil rights movement, in which people’s participation brought about change. Describing elections as a symbol of participation, Ahn urged voters to cast ballots.

Turnout is seen as a critical factor tomorrow. Analysts have said a lower turnout would be to Na’s advantage because most voters would be older, and more conservative voters. A high turnout would come from young voters taking the trouble to vote, and they are the base of Park’s support.

Turnout for a by-election is traditionally lower than that of a regular election.

In last year’s Seoul mayoral election, which took place on a public holiday, the turnout was 53.8 percent, and the GNP’s Oh Se-hoon won the race. The turnout for the voters in their 20s was 44.1 percent; for people in their 30s it was 46.8 percent; and turnout for people over 60 was 68.5 percent.

“Ahn’s move will surely help Park because turnout is the most important factor in this race,” Kim Ji-yoon, a research executive at Millward Brown Media Research, told the JoongAng Ilbo. “Ahn has given the reason for the youngsters to vote. It doesn’t help the conservatives to try to unite because their turnout already tends to be high.”

Shin Yul, a political science professor at Myongji University had a differentl analysis. “Ahn’s endorsement has already been reflected in Park’s ratings, so his further help won’t likely increase support,” Shin said. “Ahn’s help will likely unite Park’s supporters and increase their loyalty, but it won’t make those who had no intention to vote vote.”

Shin also said Ahn’s move could increase turnout of supporters from both sides. “Turnout is never about one side,” he said. “Both sides go up together.”

The Grand Nationals yesterday disparaged Ahn’s public support for Park’s campaign. In an urgent media conference yesterday, Na said Park has effectively admitted he’s in trouble by inviting Ahn to campaign at the last minute.

“Park should be a man and stop a cheap, childish campaign,” Na said. “This is an election between candidates Na Kyung-won and Park Won-soon, and I want a fair and square race.”

Na also criticized Park for hiding in the shadows of powerful politicians, particularly liberal presidential hopefuls.

Park Geun-hye, who visited the Gyeonggang region to support the GNP campaign in by-elections there, gave no reaction to Ahn’s move. “I have not much to say today,” she told reporters.

At a party meeting, Grand Nationals tried to downplay the significance of Ahn’s move, but some still expressed concerns. “Ahn is a state-run university’s professor, and it is inappropriate for him to participate in politics to support a particular side,” GNP Chairman Hong Joon-pyo said. “If he wants to indulge in politics, he must give up his faculty post and enter politics.”

While the DP welcomed Ahn’s decision to support Park, the largest opposition party appeared to be concerned about its shrinking influence over the liberal voters.


By Ser Myo-ja, Yang Won-bo [myoja@joongang.co.kr]


한글 관련 기사 [중앙일보]

안철수 등장… 보수표 자극

[뉴스분석] ‘안철수 신당’ 정계개편 가능성
안 “투표율 60%면 좋겠다”… 박원순 응원 편지
홍준표 “안, 정치 하겠다면 교수직 버리고 와라”

안철수(49) 서울대 융합과학기술대학원장이 24일 무소속 박원순 서울시장 후보를 공개 지지하고 나서면서 선거는 한나라당 나경원 후보를 미는 박근혜 전 대표와 안 원장의 대선 전초전으로 전개되는 양상을 보이고 있다.

이처럼 서울시장 선거가 대선 전초전 양상을 보이자 한나라당 친박근혜계나 친이명박계, 민주당 주류와 친노(親盧) 진영의 계산도 복잡해지고 있다. 친이명박계는 선거 결과에 따라 박 전 대표가 타격을 받아 한나라당 내부 구도가 달라질 수 있다는 가능성을 주시하고 있고, 친노 진영도 안 원장의 부상이 문재인 노무현재단 이사장의 행보에 변수가 될 수 있어 촉각을 곤두세우고 있다는 관측이 나온다. 정치권에선 나경원 승리냐, 박원순 승리냐에 따라 ‘안철수 신당’이 등장할 수 있으며, 그로 인해 정치권 일부가 재편될 가능성도 있다는 분석까지 나온다.

 안 원장은 이날 박원순 후보에 대한 지지를 재확인했다. 안 원장은 서울 안국동 박 후보 선거캠프를 방문, e-메일 편지를 건네며 “멀리서나마 계속 성원하고 있었고 오늘도 응원하러 왔다 ”고 말했다. 안 원장의 정치 행보에 자극받은 한나라당은 “국민 세금으로 운영되는 국립대의 교수가 특정 정파에 함몰돼 편향된 정치행위를 하는 것은 바람직하지 않다. 정치를 하려면 교수직을 버리고 정치판에 들어오라”(홍준표 대표)며 안 원장에 대해 공세를 폈다. 안 원장이 선거전 전면에 등장함에 따라 위기의식을 느낀 보수와 중도보수층이 한나라당 나경원 후보 쪽으로 결집하는 현상이 나타나고 있다고 한나라당 김정권 사무총장은 이날 밝혔다.

 안 원장은 박 후보에게 건넨 편지에서 1955년 미국 흑인 민권운동을 촉발시킨 계기가 된 로자 파크스 사건을 언급하며 “수많은 대중의 참여가 그날의 의미를 바꿔놓은 것처럼 우리도 행동에 나서야 한다. 선거 참여야말로 시민의 주인이 되는 길이며 상식이 비상식을 이기는 길”이라고 강조했다. 그러면서 “저 역시 이른 아침 투표장에 나가 한 표의 권리를 행사할 것”이라며 “여러분도 저와 함께해 주시길 간곡히 청한다”고 말했다.

안 원장의 박 후보 공개 지지 효과와 관련해 이택수 리얼미터 대표는 “박원순 후보에게서 이탈했던 지지층의 절반가량은 회복할 수 있겠지만 한나라당 지지층이나 보수층을 결집시키는 반작용도 만만찮을 것”이라고 말했다. 명지대 신율(정치학) 교수도 “박 후보뿐 아니라 나 후보 지지층의 충성도도 함께 높아질 것”이라고 예상했다. 김지연 미디어리서치 상무는 “안 원장의 등장이 젊은 층에게 투표장에 갈 명분을 준 만큼 박 후보에겐 분명히 도움이 될 것”이라고 말했다. 익명을 요구한 민주당의 한 당직자는 “안 원장의 막판 지원으로 박 후보가 승리한다면 모든 공(功)은 안 원장에게 넘어갈 것이고, ‘안철수 중심의 신당’을 만들자는 목소리도 커질 것”이라고 말했다.

◆안철수 편지=한편 안 원장은 편지에서 “이번 선거는 부자 대 서민, 노인 대 젊은이, 강남과 강북의 대결이 아니고 보수 대 진보의 대립은 더더욱 아니어야 한다”며 “이념과 정파의 벽을 넘어 누가 화합을 이끌 수 있는지, 누구의 말이 진실한지, 누가 과거가 아닌 미래를 말하고 있는지 묻는 선거여야 한다”고 말했다. 그는 20여 분간 진행된 박 후보와의 비공개 면담에선 “많은 사람이 투표에 참여하는 게 가장 중요하다”며 “선거 당일 아침 기온이 1도까지 떨어진다는데 걱정이다. 투표율이 60%를 넘었으면 좋겠다”고 밝혔다고 박 후보 캠프의 송호창 대변인이 전했다.


◆로자 파크스(Rosa Parks·1913~2005) 사건=흑인에 대한 인종차별이 극에 달했던 1955년 12월 1일 앨라배마주 몽고메리시의 흑인 재봉사 로자 파크스가 버스에서 백인 전용 좌석에 앉았다가 자리를 비워달라는 백인의 요구를 거절, 경찰에 의해 강제로 하차당한 사건. 파크스는 흑백인종분리법 위반으로 14달러의 벌금을 물었다. 이후 마틴 루서 킹 목사를 중심으로 한 저항운동이 벌어졌고, 이듬해 12월 미 연방대법원은 공공버스 안에서의 흑백 분리는 위헌이라고 판결했다.

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