Rift growing in opposition alliance

By Korea Herald
  • Published : Mar 22, 2012 - 18:38
  • Updated : Mar 22, 2012 - 18:50

UPP leader resists pressure to give up  nomination; DUP backs own  candidate in another primary dispute

A rift was seen growing in the liberal opposition alliance amid intensifying disputes over joint primary results, including one involving a far-left group leader.

Rep. Lee Jung-hee, one of the three co-chairs of the United Progressive Party, on Thursday resisted calls to surrender her nomination to run in the April 11 parliamentary elections as a joint candidate of the two-party alliance.

“Giving up the nomination is an easy way out. But I think asking for a primary again is a more responsible thing for me to do,” the politician said, appearing on an Internet TV program.

She plans to register her candidacy with the National Election Commission today, her aides said. 
(Left) Lee Jung-hee

The UPP leader has been under pressure to resign after members of her staff were found to have attempted to rig a telephone survey to help her win the alliance’s ticket for Seoul’s Gwanak B constituency. They sent out text messages to about 200 UPP members, asking them to lie about their age in a bid to influence the results of the poll, which had a fixed quota per age group.

DUP Rep. Kim Hee-chull, Lee’s defeated rival who currently represents the constituency, rejected the offer for a new primary and registered his bid Thursday with the National Election Commission as an independent candidate.

The DUP-UPP alliance held joint primaries in 69 constituencies nationwide over the weekend to consolidate their candidates against the ruling Saenuri Party.

Lee was among the 11 UPP members who won the right to stand as the joint candidate.

The results of a joint primary in Gyeonggi’s Ansan-Danwon A constituency, where the DUP candidate was defeated by the UPP’s, is also being disputed.

The DUP on Thursday said it was nominating Baek Hye-ryeon, who lost the primary to UPP’s candidate Cho Seong-chan.

“We’re nominating our candidate in hopes that she would be able to unite (with the UPP candidate) in the campaign process,” Kim Yoo-jung, a spokesperson for the DUP.

Ryu Shi-min, another co-chair of the UPP, called the decision “a violation of alliance commitments.”

The ruling Saenuri Party did not miss the opportunity to attack the opposition camp.

“One should take responsibility for one’s actions, particularly wrong ones,” said Rep. Park Geun-hye, the party’s chairwoman, in a thinly veiled attack on Lee.

By Lee Sun-young (