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DUP gripped by fresh voting row

New allegations of election fraud are looming large over the main opposition Democratic United Party, adding to growing factional strife ahead of its presidential primary race.

A party member in Gyeonggi Province, supposed to be a supporter for new party leader Lee Hae-chan was found to have voted twice in its recent leadership election.

He took part in the mobile-phone election on June 1 as an ordinary member and later cast his ballot as a policy delegate in the national convention on Saturday, according to the party.

“We missed out on the repetition as the last two digits of the person’s resident registration number were marked incorrectly on the list,” said Kang Jung-koo, the party’s vice secretary-general on Tuesday.

During the national convention, voters were identified by the first seven digits only.

“This was an inevitable administrative error and is so far the only reported case of double voting,” Kang said.

However, suspicions were raised that similar irregularities may have occurred and gone unnoticed.

“From the start, the rule for the election was as loose as a rubber band and arranged to favor a special group,” Choo Mi-ae, a Supreme Council member and chief of the party’s committee to oversee the presidential primary, said in a radio interview Thursday.

Another council member Rep. Lee Jong-kul called the voting system “unfair and incompetent,” suggesting that the results be revised from scratch.

“It is unlikely that double-voters will reveal themselves voluntarily,” Lee said on a radio talk show on Wednesday.

“It is yet uncertain whether the error was committed intentionally or by mistake.”

Also some members of the minority Unified Progressive Party were found to have taken part in the DUP’s mobile election as citizen voters to support Rep. Lee Hae-chan. But there was no systemic involvement of the party, DUP officials said.

The mobile voting was first introduced by the DUP before the April 11 parliamentary elections as a means to reflect the public sentiment in the party’s candidate selection.

Though it largely won positive responses from general voters, it also raised questions of equity.

“It is a pity that the June 9 national conventional result failed to reflect the sentiment of party members and the public,” said Rep. Kim Han-gill in the first Supreme Council meeting on Monday.

Kim won in most of the regional voting but was defeated by rival Rep. Lee who was far ahead in the mobile election.

By Bae Hyun-jung (