Saenuri favorites in Seoul mayor race touch gloves

By Korea Herald
  • Published : Mar 17, 2014 - 21:10
  • Updated : Mar 17, 2014 - 21:10
Rep. Chung Mong-joon (right) and former Prime Minister Kim Hwang-sik shake hands ahead of their meeting at Chung’s office in Seoul on Monday. (Yonhap)

Rep. Chung Mong-joon and former Prime Minister Kim Hwang-sik met for the first time as Saenuri Party candidates for Seoul mayor on Monday, with the lawmaker considered the favorite in the party’s primaries.

At the meeting Chung said that the primary elections should be conducted according to “principle, common sense and logic.”

Chung has expressed dissatisfaction with the process of selecting the Saenuri Party’s Seoul mayoral candidate from the outset.

The ruling party pushed back the deadline for registering as a preliminary candidate from March 10 to March 15, prompting speculation that the change was made to give Kim time to return from the U.S.

In addition, Chung has raised concerns about the party’s plans to hold a series of primaries in different regions of the capital to select the final candidate, saying that the method could divide the ruling party’s supporters.

As for Kim, who announced his bid for the Saenuri Party candidacy on Friday, he suggested that they use the term “upstanding politics,” saying that the term “new politics” had been sullied by the opposition bloc.

A recent poll conducted by a local daily showed that Chung was ahead of Kim by a significant margin as the most suitable ruling party candidate for Seoul mayor. In the survey Chung received 46.1 percent support to be the ruling party candidate while Kim got 27.2 percent.

Chung, a seven-term lawmaker, has also been gaining on incumbent Mayor Park Won-soon, narrowing the gap to within the margin of error in recent polls.

Before Chung made his bid official, polls had placed him 10 percentage points or more behind Park.

By Choi He-suk (