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Parties enter election mode, despite feuds

Leading parties launched their campaign committees Wednesday, gearing up for the imminent April 11 general elections, as internal feuds over nomination persisted.

In the ruling Saenuri Party, interim leader Rep. Park Geun-hye took on the campaign committee chairmanship and conferred certificates of appointment to the party’s candidates.

“From today, the party will be operated under an electoral campaign system,” said Park.

“The nation’s entire future lies on the results of the upcoming race.”

Named as the committee’s advisors were former head of the pro-Park Future Hope Alliance Suh Chung-won, former parliamentary speaker Kim Hyong-o and former Grand National Party member Kim Yong-hwan.

Despite earlier speculation, emergency leadership council members such as Kim Chong-in and Lee Sang-don were not included in the list.

The party also made full use of those who were earlier ruled out in the nomination screening process.
Officials of the National Election Commission’s Seoul office on Wednesday put up a banner encouraging citizens to vote in the April 11 general elections. (Park Hyun-koo/The Korea Herald)
Officials of the National Election Commission’s Seoul office on Wednesday put up a banner encouraging citizens to vote in the April 11 general elections. (Park Hyun-koo/The Korea Herald)

Rep. Cho Yoon-sun, together with proportional candidate and former newspaper editorialist Lee Sang-il, is to serve as the committee’s spokesperson. The first-term lawmaker applied for nomination in the Jongno constituency but the party appointed sixth-term Rep. Hong Sa-duk as matching rival to opposition power Rep. Chung Sye-kyun.

Also, the operation center is to be managed by Rep. Lee Hye-hoon, who failed to win her way back into her constituency in Seocho-A.

The party faced controversies over nomination, especially concerning the proportional representative aspirants’ qualification.

The leadership council thus called off the nomination for former vice health minister Lee Bong-hwa, who was involved in a government rice subsidy grab.

It nevertheless decided to keep Lee Man-woo, economics professor at Korea University who played a key role in devising President Lee Myung-bak’s economic policies.

The main opposition Democratic United Party, too, kicked off its election campaign committee under the leadership of chairperson Han Myeong-sook.

The staff member posts were taken by the party’s leading figures, including presidential hopefuls such as Reps. Chung Dong-young and Chung Sye-kyun. Former Democratic Party chairman Rep. Sohn Hak-kyu’s name was also in the list but Sohn is said to have declined.

The left-wing party, however, also continued to face internal feuds over its recent nomination processes, especially as Supreme Council member Rep. Park Young-sun offered to step down.

“The DUP’s nomination results fell below the people’s expectations and somebody had to take the responsibility,” said Park.

The party, however, turned down her resignation.

“She is yet to play her role for the party, especially with the crucial race coming ahead,” said the party’s spokesperson Park Yong-jin.

Candidates are to register themselves to the National Election Commission this Thursday and Friday, The official campaign period will begin on March 29 until midnight April 10.

By Bae Hyun-jung (tellme@heraldcorp.com)
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