A candidate from the minority People’s Participation Party was selected Tuesday as the unified runner of opposition parties in the upcoming by-election in Gimhae, South Gyeongsang Province.
Lee Bong-soo, who beat contenders from the Democratic Party and the Democratic Labor Party in a two-day public survey, is to compete against Kim Tae-ho of the ruling Grand National Party for the legislative seat in the Gimhae-B constituency on April 27.
The vote rate for each candidate in the survey was not revealed but Lee was said to have run a tight match against Kwak Jin-up from the main opposition Democratic Party.
Lee Bong-soo pays respects at the tomb of late former President Roh Moo-hyun in Gimhae, South Gyeongsang Province, Tuesday after being chosen as a sole opposition candidate in the upcoming by-election in the city’s constituency. (Yonhap News)
“We wholeheartedly accept the results of the survey,” said a DP spokesperson after the survey result was announced.
“We believe that we have shown to the people that opposition parties are united as one, ready to overturn the present dominance of the ruling party and of the Lee Myung-bak administration.”
The DLP similarly issued a statement, embracing Lee’s victory and pledging to cooperate in his campaigns for the sake of opposition unity.
The Gimhae citizens’ choice over the PPP, which is a relatively new party led by Rhyu Si-min, nevertheless delivered a blow to the two major opposition parties, especially the DP.
Kwak and Lee have both claimed to be the “political heir” to late President Roh Moo-hyun in Gimhae, South Gyeongsang Province, which was Roh’s hometown.
Though the Gyeongsang regions have traditionally been counted as supporters of the conservative party, the influence of the former liberal president is a significant variable for opposition candidates there.
By Bae Hyun-jung (email@example.com