Rivals slam new party’s Gyeonggi hopeful over free bus pledge

By Korea Herald
  • Published : Mar 24, 2014 - 21:27
  • Updated : Mar 24, 2014 - 21:27
The New Politics Alliance for Democracy’s Gyeonggi Province governor hopeful Kim Sang-gon is drawing fire from his potential rivals in the ruling Saenuri Party for his free bus pledge.

On Monday, Kim said in a radio interview that providing free bus services was “the most rational welfare plan” for addressing Gyeonggi Province residents’ transportation problems.

Kim, the former Gyeonggi Province education superintendent, entered the race for Gyeonggi Province gubernatorial post in February and has since joined the NPAD, the new party formed by the main opposition Democratic Party and independent Rep. Ahn Cheol-soo.

Kim also claimed that there would be “absolutely no problems” in funding the program if budgets for infrastructure projets projects were “slightly modified.”

Kim’s claims drew simultaneous fire from Saenuri Party hopefuls.

“I think this free-bus policy is not a good idea. It seems to have been developed with a lack of knowledge about the reality,” said Rep. Nam Kyung-pil, the Saenuri favorite for the primary.

Nam is considered the favorite for the Gyeonggi Province governorship race with polls placing him significantly ahead of Kim.

“Spending 300 billion won ($278 million) for about 3 percent of users has no efficiency in reality. The realistic answer is to introduce a semi-state-run system,” Nam said, claiming that about 1 in 10 students and elderly people in the province supported Kim’s plan.

Rep. Won Yoo-chul, a four-term lawmaker competing against Nam for the Saenuri Party candidacy, added his voice in another radio interview saying that Kim’s plan was a populist pledge.

Won, who called for minor Saenuri Party candidates gunning for the Gyeonggi Province post to merge to compete with Nam in the party’s primary election, also claimed that Kim’s plans would require more than 4 trillion won.

By Choi He-suk (