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Ruling party chief calls for TV debate with main opposition leader

By Jung Min-kyung

Published : March 4, 2024 - 14:09

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Democratic Party of Korea Chair Lee Jae-myung, left, shakes hands with People Power Party Interim Chair Han Dong-hoon at the main opposition headquarters in western Seoul in December last year. (Yonhap) Democratic Party of Korea Chair Lee Jae-myung, left, shakes hands with People Power Party Interim Chair Han Dong-hoon at the main opposition headquarters in western Seoul in December last year. (Yonhap)

The ruling party chief on Monday called on the main opposition leader to engage in a televised debate ahead of the April 10 legislative election, saying that it’s “what many people want.”

People Power Party Interim Chair Han Dong-hoon told reporters that he is ready to face off against the Democratic Party of Korea Chair Lee Jae-myung in a debate, while hinting that the opposition leader has been avoiding it on purpose.

“I believe it is what several media and many people want for the leaders of (the two main parties) to hold a lengthy televised debate over policies and certain issues,” Han said at the ruling party headquarters in western Seoul.

“I have accepted requests (to attend a debate program hosted by) not only KBS, but most broadcasters including SBS, Channel A, TV Chosun and MBC. Lee is known to be a competent debater and the Democratic Party has constantly boasted about it -- there is no reason for him to avoid this,” he added.

He highlighted the request also came from MBC, nodding toward criticisms that the broadcaster is often inclined to be politically progressive.

On the People Power Party’s growing popularity ahead of the upcoming election, Han said feels “great responsibility” not to disappoint his party’s supporters.

According to a Real Meter survey released Monday, the People Power Party garnered support from 46.7 percent of voters here, eclipsing the rival Democratic Party’s 39.1 percent.

“I accept this fact with great responsibility as it means there are many people who are cheering for us to win,” Han said.