Voters expressed anti-Roh feelings at the ballot boxYoo Han-ul, 22, a senior at Korea University, voted for Lee Myung-bak, but said she was really voting against Roh Moo-hyun.
“The Roh administration has been incompetent, in my view,” she said. “The president’s words are often reckless and I do not like the way he divided the people.”
Jeon Su-jeong, 33, an interior designer who also voted for Lee, said her choice was a complete about-face.
In 2002 and 1997, Jeon voted for the liberal candidates Roh Moo-hyun and Kim Dae-jung. But this year, she said she went the opposite way because she simply does not like Roh.
“I did not see any consistency by Roh in carrying out his pledges,” she said. “But I see stability when I look at the conservatives.”
Combined with the votes received by Lee Hoi-chang, the former leader of the Grand National Party, conservatives swept nearly 65 percent of the votes.
“This election was a poll solely to reject and punish the Roh Moo-hyun administration,” said Kim Hyeong-jun, a professor of politics at Myongji University. “The people who were disappointed by this administration threw their votes to anyone who stood at the exact opposite pole from Roh.”
“In fact, there are quite a lot of people who voted for Lee because they hated Roh,” said Kang Won-taek, a professor at Soongsil University. “The economy was going bad and the housing prices were soaring. The people couldn’t stand it anymore.”
Kim Min-jeon, a Kyung Hee University professor, said people were “wary” about keeping the liberals in power.
“People have not liked the last 10 years of the liberal administration,” she said. “It’s simple.”
Yeo Yi-rang, a taxi driver in his 60s, said he was angry that “Roh and his liberal aides” were preoccupied with “shoveling food and money” to the North when the country is still technically at war with South Korea.
“Why do we have to pave roads for them and develop their tourism industry?” he asked angrily, pointing to recent agreements Roh made with Kim Jong-il at the second inter-Korean summit meeting.
“And I was appalled to hear that Roh said Korean men were ‘rotting’ for three years in boot camp,” he said of a Roh verbal gaffe in 2006. “We sacrificed a precious three years of our life for the country and the president had described us as rotting.”
Kim Hyeong-geun, 31, said he never thought about whether he was liberal or conservative.
“I want a president who can benefit my needs,” he said. “And my conclusion was that it was the conservatives this time.”
By Kim Jung-wook JoongAng Ilbo/ Lee Min-a Staff Reporter [email@example.com]
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