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‘Kim Jong-un,’ ‘Park Geun-hye’ names draw attention at local elections

Several candidates in Wednesday’s local elections caught the attention of the public due to their names.

These candidates had the same names as North Korean leader Kim Jong-un, former President Park Geun-hye and Park’s father Park Chung-hee. The Korean spellings of the names were identical, though they were romanized differently.

In particular, Kim Jong-un, a female candidate for the Mapo-gu local elections, became a trending topic. The US-North Korea summit took place a day before the elections, boosting the publicity of the candidate on Korean online search portals.
Screenshot of candidate Kim Jong-un (Naver)
Screenshot of candidate Kim Jong-un (Naver)

Meanwhile, Park Geun-hye, 29, was elected by proportional representation through the Busan National Election Commission to be the district councilor for Geumjeong-gu, Busan.

“Sharing the same name as Park Geun-hye could increase voters’ awareness, but there could also be negative aspects,” said Park in an interview with Kyunghyang Shinmun. The former president was impeached over a corruption scandal. Unlike the ousted president, this 29-year-old is from the liberal Democratic Party.

Three candidates had the same name as Park Chung-hee.

Park Jung-hee from the Democratic Party won the election in Buk-gu, Daegu, on Wednesday. Another candidate with the same name from the opposition Liberty Korea Party won the election in Cheongju, North Chungcheong Province.

By Chyung Eun-ju (