Questions raised over votes cast in DUP’s primary

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Questions raised over votes cast in DUP’s primary

Controversy has flared over the integrity of the Democratic United Party’s recent leadership election as one member claimed that she cast two ballots.

A 21-year-old university student, who asked to be identified by her last name Kim, told the JoongAng Ilbo on Tuesday that she cast ballots twice in the election for chairman, which ended Sunday with the victory of Representative Lee Hae-chan. Kim is a dues-paying member of the party.

“I was informed to participate in the mobile voting so I cast my ballot on June 1,” she told the JoongAng Ilbo. “But on June 4, I received a text message from the Million People’s Order movement that I was chosen as a delegate so I should vote at the party convention on June 9.”

The movement is led by progressive actor Moon Sung-keun to unite the liberal opposition parties for the December presidential election.

“Although I had cast my ballot through mobile voting, I cast another ballot as a delegate at the convention,” she said. “No one stopped me.”

Kim said she was not a member of the Million People’s Order movement, and she has no idea how she was chosen as a delegate. “I was also ordered to vote for Lee Hae-chan and not to vote for Kim Han-gill.”

Kim was the key rival of Lee during the chairmanship race. Lee managed to clinch a come-from-behind victory against Kim due to heavy support from mobile phone votes. Lee won the chairmanship by a narrow margin of 0.5 percentage points, or 1,471 votes.

In the election, the delegates’ votes made up 30 percent, while the mobile and direct votes by the party members and the registered public voters accounted for 70 percent.

The Million People’s Order movement leader Moon is a key member of the Roh Moo-hyun faction, which supported Lee during the primary. The group was allocated to have 200 delegates during the race, facing criticism from Lee’s rivals.

“We have all seen the crisis in the Unified Progressive Party over its rigged primary to select the proportional candidates,” Kim said. “And yet, the absurd situation was still repeated in the DUP.”

Following her revelation, the DUP held a press conference and admitted to poor management of the leadership election. In a press conference, Kang Jeong-ku, deputy secretary general of the party, said the roster of the delegates was finalized later than scheduled, and the party failed to verify the overlap in the voters.

Although Kang said Kim’s case was an isolated incident, the party has already destroyed the voters’ registry on Monday and there was no ground to confirm other cases.

Representative Lee Jong-kul of the DUP, who was elected as a Supreme Council member through last week’s leadership election, showed concerns about the revelation. “Although we only found one, it is my understanding that there are a lot more cases,” Lee said yesterday in an interview with TBS radio.

“It is too early to say whether it was an accident or intentional,” he said. “But if the outcome was changed because of the unfair or incompetent election management system, we have to reconsider the primary.”

Lee said there were also other suspicions over the leadership election process so it is necessary for the party to examine the fairness of the election because it will be a model for the upcoming presidential primary.

By Yang Won-bo [myoja@joongang.co.kr]

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