Vote will decide mayoral candidate, Saenuri says

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Vote will decide mayoral candidate, Saenuri says

The ruling Saenuri Party will stand by its original method of holding just one vote to finalize its candidate for the Seoul mayoral elections.

The Saenuri will allow its three candidates to hold joint addresses across different regions ahead of the June 4 local elections, according to an announcement made by the main party’s nomination management committee yesterday.

The nomination period will last for 10 days starting April 20, and voting will take place April 30. The three candidates will participate in four rounds of televised discussions and tour three electorates across Seoul to hold talks with local citizens.

Former Prime Minister Kim Hwang-sik, Representative Chung Mong-joon and Representative Lee Hye-hoon, one of whom will face off against incumbent Democratic Mayor Park Won-soon, previously came up with different ideas about how the party should select its final candidate in the race for the election’s most-watched campaign.

Whereas Lee and Kim demanded a separate voting process across four electorates within the capital city, Chung supported the party’s traditional approach of holding just one round of voting.

“If we hold multiple votes in different regions, the candidate who fails in one region may resort to extreme measures, mobilizing an excessive number of people in another region to make up for the loss,” said Kim Jae-won, deputy head of the nomination management committee.

Lee and Kim expressed regrets over the party’s decision.

Representative Lee criticized the Saenuri and Representative Chung, saying that the party’s decision to reverse the nomination rule, which had nearly been confirmed before, was “a shameful event.”

Likewise, Kim, a former prime minister, said in a statement that he had preferred several rounds of voting to a single vote because he felt it more accurately reflected the opinions of the party and the public, but he added that he would respect and follow the finalized procedures.

Seven-term lawmaker Chung, meanwhile, who has more than 1.9 trillion won ($1.7 billion) in assets, came out on top in a recent poll of potential presidential candidates for 2017, with an approval rating of 18.8 percent.

BY SEO JI-EUN [spring@joongang.co.kr]


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