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Lee Jae-myung becomes final presidential candidate for ruling party

Gyeonggi Province Gov. Lee Jae-myung (Yonhap)
Gyeonggi Province Gov. Lee Jae-myung (Yonhap)
Gyeonggi Province Gov. Lee Jae-myung was announced on Sunday as the ruling party nominee for the upcoming presidential election.

Lee has gained a total of 719,905 votes (50.29 percent), defeating his chief rival Lee Nak-yon, former prime minister, who received 560,392 votes (39.14 percent), in the party’s primary elections. Former Justice Minister Choo Mi-ae and Rep. Park Yong-jin received 129,035 votes (9.01 percent) and 22,261 votes (1.55 percent), respectively.

The ruling party held its last regional primary in Seoul and the third Super Week -- national electoral vote -- to choose a final candidate at SK Olympic Handball Gymnasium in Songpa-gu, Seoul starting at 3:30 p.m. The results were released at 6 p.m.

In the run-off vote on the day, Gov. Lee gained about 45,737 votes from party members in the Seoul primary election and around 74,441 votes from the third national electoral vote. His rival Lee received 32,445 and 155,220 votes, respectively.

The cumulative number of electors in the Democratic Party was 2,169,511, of which 1,459,992 voted, with a turnout of 67.3 percent.

After the turnout was released, Lee said he would complete the “change and reform” demanded by the people.

The vote result is “A clear and stern order from the people to eliminate unearned income and create a country where working people are respected and live well,” he said.

“I will surely root out corruption among political forces and won't postpone it for a second. Immediately after election, we will eliminate the stigma of being a country with unearned income from real estate.”

Gov. Lee’s final vote tally is lower than President Moon Jae-in who had gained 56.5 percent of the vote in the 2012 primary election in the ruling party and topped 57 percent in the 2017 presidential election.

Lee’s challenge is after the primary election. The Democratic Party's fate for the presidential election is at stake as to whether it can revive the "party unity" after the election of the final candidate.

During his speech, Lee said, "The best strategy for re-creating a new government is “one team," expressing his gratitude to the other three candidates.

Party leader Song Young-gil said, "Irrespective of the results, this should be an opportunity to accept (the winner) and become one to meet the calling of Korea's uninterrupted democracy."

Outside SK Olympic Handball Gymnasium where the joint speech took place, about 3,000 supporters gathered to support their candidates despite the pouring rain. When Lee moved out of the stadium, his supporters shouted his name and cheered.



By Shin Ji-hye (shinjh@heraldcorp.com)
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