Attacks, appeals intensify 2 days before local elections

By Korea Herald
  • Published : Jun 2, 2014 - 21:19
  • Updated : Jun 2, 2014 - 21:48
The two main political parties are intensifying appeals to the public and attacks against each other in the last leg of campaigns before Wednesday’s local elections.

The ruling Saenuri Party is pushing “national innovation” and shoring up President Park Geun-hye’s plans to appeal to voters.

Since the campaign period began on May 22, ruling party candidates across the nation have claimed that voting for them would be “saving the president” against the opposition bloc.

With the Sewol ferry tragedy tipping the scales against conservatives, ruling party heavyweights have been providing supporting fire in closely contested areas.

Rep. Kim Moo-sung, a five-term lawmaker with his sights on party leadership, took to the streets in a one-man campaign pleading for support. 

On Monday, Kim stood on a street corner in Busan holding up a placard signed with his name asking for support and promising to do his best.

“Give President Park Geun-hye and the Saenuri Party the power to go ahead with grand innovation of the nation and to eradicate the evils that have accumulated within the bureaucracy over the decades,” Kim said in a press conference calling for voters’ support for Saenuri Party Busan mayor candidate Suh Byung-soo. 
Officials from the National Election Commission’s Incheon branch office check an automated ballot counter at a gym in the city on Monday. (Yonhap)

Although Busan is traditionally a conservative stronghold, independent Oh Keo-don is giving Suh a close chase.

In addition, the ruling party has brought out the tried and tested weapon of accusing the opposition bloc of collusion.

“The public clearly remembers the coalition among parties of different ideologies formed during the 2012 general elections,” Saenuri Party spokesperson Rep. Min Hyun-joo said.

Saying that the opposition bloc’s alliance enabled Rep. Lee Seok-ki to gain a parliamentary seat, Min accused the main opposition of repeating “underhanded collusion.”

In 2012, the defunct Democratic Party formed a pan-progressive alliance with the minor opposition Unified Progressive Party, enabling the UPP to gain parliamentary seats.

Lee is currently on trial for allegedly planning a revolt, while the Constitutional Court is reviewing the constitutionality of the UPP. The main opposition New Politics Alliance for Democracy, for its part, is concentrating on the idea of passing judgment on the government for its incompetence.

“We will fight the greed and selfishness in ourselves, and the government’s incompetence, and the irresponsibility of the Saenuri Party that wants to protect the president not the public,” NPAD co-chairman Rep. Kim Han-gil said.

The NPAD also honed in on the confusion surrounding the operations of the special parliamentary committee on the Sewol disaster. Although the committee’s operations were to begin with a visit to Jindo Island, South Jeolla Province, on Monday, apparent miscommunication between the two parties resulted in only NPAD members making the trip.

“(I) cannot erase the image that the Saenuri Party is ultimately concerned only about the negative impact the tragedy has on the local elections,” NPAD floor spokesman Rep. Park Beom-kye said.

“The people say that they will not forget the Sewol disaster, the Saenuri Party has effectively admitted its inner thoughts of ‘we want to forget.’”

By Choi He-suk (