Gyeonggi Province Gov. Lee Jae-myung (Yonhap)
Gyeonggi Province Gov. Lee Jae-myung achieved a landslide victory in the ruling Democratic Party’s first and second round of primaries for the presidential election, solidifying his standing as the front-running contender for the next presidency.
According to the ruling party on Sunday, Gov. Lee finished the second round of Democratic Party’s national presidential primary elections of Sejong and North Chungcheong Province by winning 54.54 percent of all cased votes.
Rep. Lee Nak-yon followed Gov. Lee to earn 28.19 percent, and former Prime Minister Chung Sye-kyun earned 7.05 percent. Former Justice Minister Choo Mi-ae recorded 6.81 percent.
Gov. Lee, one of the strongest contenders for next year’s presidential race, also achieved similar level of victory a day earlier from party’s first round of presidential primaries held for Daejeon and South Chungcheong Province.
He won 54.81 percent of 25,564 casted votes, followed by Rep. Lee with 27.41 percent and Chung with 7.84 percent. Choo earned 6.67 percent of all casted votes.
Gov. Lee said after winning the first round of primaries that his campaign team will focus on emphasizing policy initiatives and refrain from holding negative campaigns against his competitors.
The fact that Gov. Lee achieved landslide victories in key swing vote provinces shows the Gyeonggi Province governor has almost unparalleled lead within his party, increasing the likelihood of him being the Democratic Party nominee in the 2022 presidential election.
The two regions he won thus far are touted as the most important swing states in South Korean elections.
Even though he has faced opposition for being less supportive of the Moon Jae-in administration than others within the party, he nonetheless has stayed strong in poll results to date, always remaining as one of top two contenders for the upcoming race.
Gov. Lee recorded the highest support rating of 25 percent in the latest poll results released Thursday, followed by former Prosecutor General Yoon Seok-youl with the main opposition party with 19 percent.
His strongest contender within the party has been Rep. Lee, who stepped down from party chairman seat after suffering a crushing defeat against main opposition People Power Party in the April mayoral by-elections. But there has been a wide gap between the support ratings of Gov. Lee and Rep. Lee.
The Democratic Party is slated to continue holding primary votes across the country as part of its candidate selection process for next year’s election. The process is scheduled to end on Oct. 10 in Seoul as the final destination.
By Ko Jun-tae (firstname.lastname@example.org