The lineup for the June 4 local elections is rapidly taking shape, as the two main parties speed up their nomination processes, which were put on the backburner in the wake of the Sewol ferry disaster.
Both the ruling Saenuri Party and the main opposition New Politics Alliance for Democracy are set to finalize the candidates for provincial and metropolitan government leaders by Tuesday.
The rush to complete the lineup kicked off Friday, with the selection of the ruling Saenuri Party’s Incheon mayoral candidate. The position is being contested for by former Minister of Security and Public Administration Yoo Jeon-bok and former Incheon Mayor Ahn Sang-soo.
The party’s candidate for Gyeonggi Province governor will be finalized on Saturday, with Rep. Nam Kyung-pil considered the likely winner.
The controversy-ridden contest to become the Saenuri Party’s Seoul mayor candidate will be concluded on May 12, completing the selection of 17 candidates for metropolitan and provincial posts.
The party’s three Seoul mayor hopefuls ― Rep. Chung Mong-joon, Lee Hye-hoon and former Prime Minister Kim Hwang-sik ― appear to be finally shifting the focus from personal attacks and claims of having the president’s backing to policy issues. On Friday, the three held the second policy forum, and will come together again for a televised debate on Sunday.
The winner will go up against incumbent Seoul Mayor Park Won-soon of the main opposition party, who is considered to have the upper hand. Along with Park, the NPAD currently has 13 confirmed candidates.
The remaining three ― who will run for the governorships of Gyeonggi, North and South Jeolla provinces ― will be selected by May 13.
The main opposition’s final primary elections will kick off with the one for South Jeolla Province governor on Saturday, followed by that for Gyeonggi Province on Sunday.
The NPAD’s will finish its run of primaries in North Jeolla Province, which forms the party’s main power base along with South Jeolla Province.
By Choi He-suk (firstname.lastname@example.org)