NATIONAL

Parliamentary candidates wrap up official campaigns

By KH디지털2
  • Published : Apr 13, 2016 - 09:38
  • Updated : Apr 13, 2016 - 09:38

Parliamentary candidates wrapped up their official campaigns Tuesday, which are expected to shape South Korea's legislative landscape for the next four years.

The official 13-day campaign period closed at midnight.

Wednesday's general elections are to pick a new 300-member National Assembly, with 253 of them to be selected through direct elections and the remaining 47 proportional representation seats to be allocated to parties according to the numbers of votes they receive overall.

A total of 944 candidates -- 844 men and 100 women -- are competing for the district seats. The competition rate is 3.7 to one, compared with 3.76 to one in the previous parliamentary elections in 2012, the country's election watchdog said.

Leaders of the ruling Saenuri Party visited Seoul and its surrounding areas Tuesday, as up for grabs are 122 constituencies in the so-called capital city region, cited as a crucial battleground.

Chairman Kim Moo-sung first traveled to Suwon, just south of Seoul, to help bolster the chances of a Saenuri Party candidate there.

"The Saenuri Party's sweeping victory is the only way to revitalize the economy and to bring hope to young people by creating more jobs," Kim said during a street rally in Suwon.

After making a dozen stops, Kim traveled to his own electorate in the southern port city of Busan and will cast his ballot on election day.

He and other Saenuri leaders have accused the opposition of holding up crucial legislation that can boost the country's economic competitiveness in such areas as the labor market.

The latest surveys show that the Saenuri will take an easy victory, although it may lose some seats in its traditional strongholds to independents who defected from the party.

The leadership of the Minjoo Party of Korea also focused its campaigns in the same areas, pleading for voter support to keep Saenuri in check.

Kim Chong-in, after traveling to the southern resort island of Jeju, visited nearly 20 electorates in Seoul that are forecast to be closely contested.

"The Saenuri will grab another chance if voters pick an opposition party that is not the proper one," Kim said during a street rally on Jeju Island, apparently warning voters not to cast their ballots for the People's Party. Minjoo has maintained that voting for the rival opposition party is tantamount to handing victory over to the Saenuri.

Kim called for the judgment of the incumbent administration's handling of the economy, saying the government and Saenuri failed to improve the people's livelihoods.

The People's Party, which is likely to grab more than 20 seats on the strong backing of voters in the Honam region in the southeastern part of the country, focused its attention on Seoul.

Securing 20 seats would allow the party to form a parliamentary negotiation bloc.

Ahn Cheol-soo, the party's co-chairman, made visits to a dozen electorates in Seoul and its surrounding area that the party believes its candidates has chances of winning.

"Saenuri and Minjoo both failed even when they had so many opportunities," said Ahn during a Seoul street rally.

Ahn, who has many supporters in the 20-40 age bracket, finished his campaign trail at his electoral district of Nowon in northern Seoul to woo voters. (Yonhap)