DP starts to disclose its ‘strategic’ nominations

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DP starts to disclose its ‘strategic’ nominations

The ruling party said Friday that it will choose candidates in 15 constituencies for the April 15 general election without holding primaries.

The Democratic Party (DP) decided on so-called strategic nominations for the 15 districts, chosen by the party leadership rather than by members. They include 13 constituencies currently occupied by DP lawmakers who are not running for re-election.

Strategic nominations are sometimes made in districts where strong candidates are required to defeat formidable rivals. But they are also used to guarantee victories to certain politicians by giving them easy races.

The 15 districts include Sejong, currently represented by DP Chairman Lee Hae-chan, and Jongno in Seoul, represented by Prime Minister Chung Sye-kyun.

The party will likely award the candidacy in Jongno to former Prime Minister Lee Nak-yon.

Another district is Uijeongbu A in Gyeonggi, currently represented by National Assembly Speaker Moon Hee-sang. Moon’s son has said that he wants to run in the district, but it wasn’t clear if he would be given the nomination by the party.

Moon, a six-term lawmaker, has been criticized for trying to bequeath the district to his son.

Youn Kun-young, who resigned earlier this month as director for the State Affairs Planning and Monitoring Office of the Blue House, will likely be nominated for Guro B District in Seoul. The constituency is currently represented by SMEs and Startups Minister Park Young-sun, who won three consecutive terms from there. She has announced she isn’t running for re-election.

“Lee already signed a rental contract to move his residence to Jongno,” said a DP official. “Taking into account Youn’s contribution to the administration, the leadership decided to grant his wish.”

At the leadership meeting on Friday, Chairman Lee said transparent nominations are a “shortcut” to victory - even though strategic nominations are considered the opposite of transparent. “We will make nominations that all candidates cannot contest,” Lee said.

Speculation is running high that the party will make even more strategic nominations than announced Friday. According to its constitution and regulations, strategic nominations are allowed for up to 20 percent of the 253 constituencies nationwide.

“In the end, we will end up with about 30 strategic nominations,” a senior DP official told the JoongAng Ilbo.

Complaints, however, are growing about the leadership’s decision. “In some districts, many are already competing to win nominations,” said a lawmaker. “It is unfair to make strategic nominations in those districts only because incumbent lawmakers said they won’t seek re-election.”

BY IM JANG-HYUK [ser.myoja@joongang.co.kr]

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