After a recount, DUP ends boycott

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After a recount, DUP ends boycott

After a brief hiccup over the fairness of its mobile voting, the presidential primary of the largest opposition party went back to normal yesterday as candidates said they would end their boycott.

After candidates boycotted the primary in protest of what they called unfair mobile voting, the Democratic United Party yesterday recounted the mobile ballots cast in the Jeju primary last week and looked deeper into the invalidated votes.

Representatives from the candidates also joined the process, said Lew Seon-ho, vice chairman of the DUP election watchdog, adding that the candidates agreed to normalize the primary.

“It was confirmed that the problems raised by some candidates were nothing more than statistical errors,” he said. “The errors were not serious enough to stop the primary.”

DUP primary competitors include former party chairman Chung Sye-kyun, former Gyeonggi Governor Sohn Hak-kyu, former South Gyeongsang Governor Kim Doo-gwan and Moon Jae-in, former chief of staff for the Roh Moo-hyun administration.

Under the current mobile voting system, people listen to a pre-recorded message and press a certain candidate’s number to vote. Chung is assigned to 1, Kim 2, Sohn 3 and Moon 4. All voters must wait until the message ends to correctly enter their vote.

Chung, Kim and Sohn argued that there must have been significant votes, presumably for them, nullified, while Moon, the primary frontrunner, would have benefited from having the last number.

According to the DUP, 599 mobile votes were counted invalid in the Jeju primary. Of the 32,984 mobile voters registered, 19,345 participated and Moon scored 11,701, while Sohn earned 3,963 in a distant second.

Kim held a press conference yesterday and announced his return to the primary. “Even if the unfair situation continues, I will complete my race,” he said, “and sacrifice myself to save the party and win a presidential victory.”

Chung told journalists yesterday that it is important for the candidates to show efforts to normalize the primary and that he will complete the race. Sohn said yesterday he will also return to the primary.

Moon said yesterday that it was regretful that the party’s leadership and election watchdog gave the false impression to the public that mobile voting was unfair. In a statement, he also urged the party to make public the specific breakdown of invalidated votes for each candidate. The DUP is scheduled to take the primary to Gangwon today.

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

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