The two-day candidate registration period for the June 4 local elections begins Thursday with ruling party candidates set to face off against negative campaigning from the opposition.
The main opposition New Politics Alliance for Democracy is heading into the elections repeating the usual mantra of “passing judgment on the administration” highlighting the safety issues and the government’s response to the Sewol ferry disaster.
The ruling Saenuri Party, for its part, is fielding political heavyweights in the hopes of taking major local administrations. In the Seoul mayoral race, the party is represented by former party leader Chung Mong-joon. With his party’s ratings falling in the wake of the ferry accident, Chung faces an uphill battle against incumbent Seoul mayor Park Won-soon of the NPAD.
|Lee In-bok. ( Yonhap)|
For the Gyeonggi Province governor’s post, currently held by the ruling party’s Kim Moon-soo, the party is fielding five-term lawmaker Rep. Nam Kyung-pil.
According to the National Election Commission, the vote will see the election of 3,952 officials, including 17 chiefs of metropolitan and provincial administrations, 17 education superintendents and 226 municipal, district and country chiefs. In addition, more than 3,600 people will be elected to local assemblies.
The NEC also warned of measures against election law violations.
“Illegal campaign organizations, interference from civil servants and manipulating opinion polls will be categorized as serious election crimes and will be dealt with sternly,” NEC Chairman Lee In-bok said.
“(The NEC) will also do its best to root out bribery, slander and negative propaganda.”
The local elections will also have a significant impact on the July by-elections with 10 parliamentary seats being vacated due to the June elections. Of the 10, seven will be left by Saenuri Party members and two by the main opposition party. The other seat was held by Gwangju mayoral candidate Lee Yong-sup, who left the NPAD in protest of the party’s candidate nomination process.
By Choi He-suk (firstname.lastname@example.org