For the ruling party, Monday’s election will bring long-lasting consequences. Kim is considered to be more independent of President Park Geun-hye’s influence and more capable in terms of communicating and cooperating with the opposition bloc.
As for Suh, the seven-term lawmaker is regarded as one of the senior-most member of the ruling party’s pro-Park Geun-hye faction.
As such, experts say that he would be able to keep the party’s relationship with Cheong Wa Dae smoother.
“I will take an overwhelming victory, and I will bear the heavy responsibility of the ruling Saenuri Party’s chairman,” Suh said in a press conference on Sunday. Suh also made a gesture of reconciliation to Kim, apologizing for developments in their campaigns and saying that he will collaborate fully should Kim win.
Kim, who is seen as having as much as a 10 percent lead on Suh, also expressed confidence.
“Considering (my) age, experience in the party, and loyalty and contributions to the party, I think that it is the time (for me) to become the party chairman,” Kim said at a press conference. Saying that he considered such an outcome to be “rational,” Kim added that he will transform the ruling party if he is elected.
Since entering the party chairmanship race, Kim and Suh have engaged in a war of words reminiscent of inter-party feuds with each hurling one accusation after another.
Suh has accused Kim of wanting only to use the party chairman post as a stepping stone for an attempt at the presidency and of attempting to capitalize on President Park Geun-hye’s falling approval rating. Suh has also called on Kim to give up his aspirations to become the president if he wants to lead the party.
Kim, for his part, opened his campaign by declaring a “war on the past,” saying that he will reform the party and rid it of all the “old ways,” with pundits speculating that the words were directed at Suh.
By Choi He-suk (firstname.lastname@example.org)