The governor’s challengesGyeonggi Gov. Lee Jae-myung was declared as the ruling Democratic Party’s candidate for the presidential election in March after winning 50.29 percent of the votes in three primaries. Five years ago, President Moon Jae-win won the primary with 57 percent of the votes in primaries.
However, compared to Lee’s comfortable wining of 53.57 percent of votes and 58.17 percent of votes in earlier two rounds, Lee fell far below his rival Lee Nak-yon, who defeated Lee by winning 62.37 percent against Lee’s 28.30 percent in the third round in Seoul.
The latest results reflect the scandal of Daejang-dong development project which Lee approved when he was mayor of Seongnam, Gyeonggi. The Citizens’ Coalition for Economic Justice called the scandal as a pork-barrel corruption from collusion between the public authority and private contractors to give excessive profits to a private contractor. Lee as mayor authorized the project, and his people enjoyed a binge with black money. Still, Lee claimed the project was one that should be applauded instead of being criticized. He laid the blame entirely on the opposition party lawmakers and builders for any corruption. The surprisingly low voting rate for Lee in the final round suggests many members of the party disagree with his view.
In his acceptance speech, Lee said he would immediately spearhead powerful real estate reform to erase the notorious stigma as a nation of ill-gotten or passive real estate wealth. He vowed to root out collusion between builders and political power and expand the disclosure of building cost mandated in Gyeonggi under his governorship to nationwide. But before talking of the future, he should have explained his potential involvement in the scandal. An independent counsel is needed to find the truth because of suspicious dilly-dallying by the prosecution in its investigation into the scandal.
Lee calls himself an “outsider” without any experience in lawmaking. He had been raised in a poor family. He is the first presidential candidate bidding for presidency without any experience in the legislature since direct presidential election was established in 1987. He received support from people through his show of determination.
Lee claimed there should be no difference in policies of the progressives or the conservatives as long as they are effective and helpful. He said he would represent the entire population if elected president. His view would comfort the people fatigued by ideological division. Unity is an imperative.