‘No crooks or perverts,’ says Saenuri

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‘No crooks or perverts,’ says Saenuri


Leaders of the ruling party celebrate as they hang the new name plate that reads Saenuri Party, at the party headquarters in Yeouido, Seoul, yesterday. [NEWSIS]

The ruling Saenuri Party yesterday started screening potential candidates for the April 11 general election immediately after closing the submission phase for would-be legislators.

The party announced yesterday that 972 people applied to run in the 245 geographical constituencies across the country.

Hwang Young-cheul, spokesman for the party, said high ethical standards will be required of candidates. The party has been battered by a succession of corruption scandals involving its current and former representatives.

“We will exclude those who evoked public criticism or disgraced the party, those convicted on such charges as sexual crimes, bribery and election law violations, those who had controversial military service records, those involved in heinous crimes and corruption, regardless of when those crimes were committed,” Hwang said.

Hwang stressed that the party will pay special attention to whether applicants did their compulsory military duty and could account for how they accumulated their wealth or assets. It is also looking for consistency in their political conservatism.

The party’s 11-member nomination review committee, led by Jung Hong-won, a former senior prosecutor, plans to conduct public opinion surveys around Feb. 25 to weed out the least popular 25 percent of applicants, as the party promised last month.

Daegu and the surrounding North Gyeongsang regions, a traditional stronghold of the party, attracted the most applicants. For Daegu constituencies there was an average of 6.58 applicants for every seat, and in North Gyeongsang there were 5.8 applicants for every seat.

Busan, a traditional stronghold in which the liberals have recently gained popularity, had 5.44 applicants for every seat while surrounding South Gyeongsang 5.18.

Seoul had 4.29 applicants for every constituency.

Gwangju, stronghold of the opposition Democratic United Party, only drew 0.63 applicants for each constituency.

The DUP closed submissions for its hopefuls on Feb. 11, and 713 people applied to run in the 245 races. Its applications were heaviest in Jeolla areas with a competition ratio of 4.45 to 1 in North Jeolla, 4 to 1 in Gwangju and 3.58 to 1 in South Jeolla. It only registered 0.73 to 1 in North Gyeongsang and 0.83 to 1 in Daegu, but fared better in Busan and South Gyeongsang at 1.5 to 1 and 1.76 to 1, respectively.

By Moon Gwang-lip [joe@joongang.co.kr]

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