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Candidate’s obscene remarks put damper on DUP campaign

Mounting criticism of an opposition party candidate’s vulgar and sexist remarks is putting a damper on a campaign riding on voter dissatisfaction with the current government.

Kim Yong-min, the main opposition Democratic United Party candidate in the northern Seoul constituency of Nowon-A, made vulgar comments when he appeared on an Internet broadcast in 2004 and 2005. 
Democratic United Party leader Han Myeong-sook (center) poses with Kim Yong-min (right) at the opening of Kim’s election campaign office in northern Seoul on March 25. (Yonhap News)
Democratic United Party leader Han Myeong-sook (center) poses with Kim Yong-min (right) at the opening of Kim’s election campaign office in northern Seoul on March 25. (Yonhap News)

Some of his recently revealed remarks include: “If all escalators and elevators at the City Hall metro station are dismantled, (conservative) old men and women will not be able to gather around the City Hall to hold demonstrations” and “If we take all U.S. soldiers in Korea hostage and run an armored vehicle over them one by one, Bush cannot help but step down”; and “Let’s release (serial killer) Yu Yeong-cheol and rape and kill (Condoleezza) Rice and kill Rumsfeld and Bush.”

The ruling Saenuri Party, women’s rights groups and even liberal figures have piled pressure on the DUP leadership to withdraw his candidacy.

“Calling Kim an ordinary citizen, as the DUP alleged when it picked him, is an insult to the voters,” the Saenuri Party said in a press release Thursday. The party urged Kim give up the race for the April 11 general elections.

Three women’s organizations ― Korean Women’s Association United, Korea Sexual Violence Relief Center and Korea Women’s Hot Line ― issued a statement on Thursday, demanding a proper apology from Kim.

“His comments are beyond a disappointment. They attack human rights,” they said. The Korean National Council of Women demanded his resignation.

Kim explained on Wednesday that they were satirical jokes and made a public apology as even his strongest supporters have called for a proper apology.

The DUP nominated him because he became a star after hosting “Naneun Ggomsuda,” a podcast where hosts and guests criticize the Lee government.

“What Kim has done is clearly unacceptable. But it won’t be easy for the DUP leadership to ditch him because of the humongous fleet of fans still supporting Kim. Moreover, retracting his candidacy will be admitting its failure in election strategy,” one political commentator said.

DUP leader Han Myeong-sook on Thursday met reporters and admitted: “(Kim’s scandal) is a headache.”

As of Tuesday, Kim led a JoongAng Ilbo poll by 37.5 percent-35 percent against Saenuri Party candidate Lee No-keun.

By Bae Ji-sook (baejisook@heraldcorp.com)
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