DUP unveils next round of nominees

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DUP unveils next round of nominees

The Democratic United Party yesterday announced its fifth batch of candidates.

The party nominated Representative Kim Jin-pyo, their embattled floor leader whose fate had been in jeopardy for him being “not liberal enough.”

The Supreme Council announced yesterday the names of 13 candidates including Kim, completing the nominations for 160 constituencies.

The announcement came as the party struggled to stem an internal rupture over the nomination process, at the same time resuming talks with the minority opposition party to form a liberal alliance ahead of the April 11 legislative elections.

After the DUP’s nomination review committee decided to put more emphasis on “identity” this year, moderate lawmakers who negotiated with the ruling party over the ratification of the Korea-U.S. free trade agreement were targeted frequently for their relatively conservative stances.

Monday’s outcome showed that the DUP had indeed dropped four technocrats-turned-lawmakers.

However, Kim, a 64-year-old two-term lawmaker who served separately as both finance and education minister during the Roh Moo-hyun administration, made the cut yesterday as the party nominated him in Suwon for reelection.

While Kim survived the nomination screening, pressure increased on the party’s secretary general Im Jong-seok to give up his nomination.

After Han won the chairwoman spot, the 45-year-old former student activist was named the secretary general of the party in January, and the DUP named him as its candidate for Seongdong B District of Seoul on Feb. 24.

The nomination was fiercely criticized inside and outside the party as Im was convicted at a district court in December last year of receiving bribes from the now-suspended Samhwa Mutual Savings Bank from 2005 to 2008.

Democrats who failed to win the DUP nominations cried foul, and the rival Saenuri Party used it as an example to attack the DUP’s nomination process.

Moon Sung-keun, a Supreme Council member of the DUP, yesterday held a press conference and pressured Im to give up his nomination. Last week, former Roh aide Lee Gang-cheol also urged Im to make a bold decision, but Im has said it will let the party’s leadership decide the fate of his nomination.

In Seoul’s wealthy neighborhood of Seocho, the DUP named Lee Hyuk-jin, a financier who operates AskVerista Asset Management, to represent the party in Seocho A District and Lim Ji-a, a lawyer, in Seocho B District in a strategic decision to attract voters yesterday.

The DUP also agreed with the Unified Progressive Party to complete the liberal alliance by tomorrow. DUP Chairwoman Han Myeong-sook and her UPP counterpart Lee Jung-hee held a meeting yesterday and agreed to the timetable.

According to the two parties’ spokesmen, Han and Lee adopted a joint declaration to state their agreement to complete the liberal alliance as late as tomorrow.

Under the negotiation, the two leaders agreed to field unified liberal candidates in constituencies nationwide to win elections against the conservative ruling party.

Under the alliance, the two parties agreed to have negotiations on policies and politics, and the two leaders also agreed. They also agreed that the two parties’ leadership will have the full authority to make decisions.

Working-level talks were scheduled to begin yesterday and the two sides said they would have marathon talks over the next three days to complete the alliance.

By Ser Myo-ja [myoja@joongang.co.kr]
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