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Nomination scandal hurts Park’s ratings

The approval ratings of top presidential contender Park Geun-hye slipped more than two percentage points as her conservative ruling party took a beating over allegations one of its lawmakers bribed her way into parliament, polls showed Friday.

Park’s rating stood at 36.4 percent in a survey of 1,500 people on Wednesday and Thursday, down from 39 percent during the same period last week, according to polling agency Realmeter.

A similar survey by Gallup Korea showed an approval rating of 35 percent for Park between Wednesday and Friday last week, down from 37 percent in the previous week’s poll.

Allegations of the money-for-nomination deal were made public on Thursday last week, dealing a blow to the ruling Saenuri Party and its leading presidential hopeful ahead of December’s presidential election.

The scandal centers on suspicions that Rep. Hyun Young-hee secured a proportional representative seat in April’s general elections after paying 300 million won ($266,150) to Hyun Ki-hwan, then a member of the party’s candidate nomination committee. Park was chief of the party when the alleged money exchange took place in March.

“It appears that (Park’s) approval ratings have dropped slightly due to the money-for-nomination scandal,” said Lee Taek-soo, the director of Realmeter.

Park’s apparently damaged reputation was also reflected in two-way race with Ahn Cheol-soo, a software entrepreneur-turned-professor widely regarded as a serious challenger to Park should he run for president.

On Wednesday and Thursday, Park’s rating stood at 44.7 percent against Ahn’s 48 percent in a reversal from Thursday and Friday of last week when she received 48.2 percent against Ahn’s 44.8 percent, according to Realmeter. (Yonhap News)