FKP’s nomination committee begins review of 539 applicants

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FKP’s nomination committee begins review of 539 applicants

The Future Korea Party (FKP), the main opposition’s satellite offshoot for proportional representation, said Tuesday that 539 people have applied for candidacies in the April 15 general elections.

The nomination committee of the party had its first meeting at the National Assembly to start the review process of the applications. Gong Byeong-ho, chairman of the nomination committee, said the party will announce its nominations on Monday.

The FKP was launched on Feb. 5 as a satellite party of the main opposition Liberty Korea Party (LKP) to win proportional lawmaker seats in the April general elections.

Later, the LKP changed its name to United Future Party (UFP) after merging with other conservative groups.

The FKP received applications from March 2 to Monday and secured up to 1 billion won ($837,000) of membership fees and 500 million won of application fees. Each applicant was required to pay 2 million won in membership fees and 1 million won in application frees.

The FKP said it will make public 468 applicants later in the afternoon. The other 71 have asked the party to keep their identities private throughout the evaluation process.

“Fairness, objectivity and transparency will be the basis of our review,” said Gong. “We will do our best to meet the people’s expectations. We will make future-oriented nominations.”

Gong said the party initially expected about 400 applications, but far more applied for nominations because of high anticipation that the FKP’s selection process will be different from old political practices.

“Until now, proportional candidacies were often distributed to serve interests of factions, but I was promised the nomination committee’s complete independence,” Gong said.

He also dismissed speculation that the UFP has the power to influence the satellite party’s nomination process. UFP Chairman Hwang Kyo-ahn met with FKP Chairman Han Sun-kyo on Monday, fueling the suspicion. “I don’t know what they discussed,” Gong said. “I want to make this clear. I never received a phone call from Hwang.”

According to the party, the nomination committee will review the applications by Wednesday. Interviews will be conducted until Sunday, and a list will be created to assign the order of proportional candidacies.

An electoral college composed of the party members will vote on the list first, and the Supreme Council of the party will approve it. The finalized list will be announced Monday.

Among the applicants is Yun Ju-keyng, granddaughter of independence fighter Yun Bong-gil and former director of the Independence Hall of Korea.

Yoo Yeong-ha, lawyer of former President Park Geun-hye, also applied for nomination.

“He submitted the application on Thursday,” Gong said. “Factionalism and creating a split in the nation are factors to rule out a candidate. And yet, we will conduct interviews for all applicants.”

The FKP earlier said it will not give nominations to incumbent lawmakers who declared to not seek reelection and former proportional representatives. Those who had applied for candidacies in other parties or were disqualified by other parties will also be excluded.

It also vowed not to nominate politicians who promote factionalism, controversial figures who create a division in public opinion or sex offenders.

Gong said no politicians disqualified by the UFP applied for nomination.

Among the incumbent lawmakers of the FKP, Rep. Jeong Woon-chun, who left the New Conservative Party and joined the party earlier this year, applied for nomination. “He will be screened without any advantage,” Gong said.

Park Hyung-joon, a political strategist who headed the National Integration Solidarity to arrange the conservative merger to produce the UFP, applied for a proportional seat nomination with the FKP Monday evening, but withdrew it 90 minutes later.

“It is an understandable decision in terms of future-oriented, innovative direction of our nomination,” Gong said. “When he was leading the National Integration Solidarity, he promised that he wouldn’t run.”

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