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Parties implore voters, highlight shortfalls of rivals ahead of elections

United Future Party`s election committee chief Kim Chong-in (center) attends a rally in Cheongju, North Chungcheong Province on Monday. Yonhap
United Future Party`s election committee chief Kim Chong-in (center) attends a rally in Cheongju, North Chungcheong Province on Monday. Yonhap

The country’s two main political parties are scrambling to reach out to voters, with both sides highlighting the perceived failures of their rivals ahead of Wednesday’s general elections.

Rep. Lee Hae-chan, head of the ruling Democratic Party of Korea, on Monday highlighted the importance of Seoul and the surrounding regions in the general elections and urged voters to pick the party’s candidates in constituency elections while picking the Citizen Party for proportional representation. The Citizen Party is the ruling party’s proportional representative party.

“In past elections, the party that wins in the capital region wins the elections,” Lee said, adding that the party projects 70 of the 121 constituencies in the region to be close races.

“Elections are won by those who plead earnestly to the end. All candidates of the Democratic Party and the Citizen Party will fully engage in the elections to overcome COVID-19 and the economic crisis,” Lee said.

Saying that the United Future Party has worked to hamper the parliamentary operations throughout the 20th National Assembly, Lee also accused the main opposition of changing its stance on key issues completely in order to appeal to voters, citing the United Future Party’s stance on the disaster relief subsidy.

The main opposition had initially opposed the idea, but has since called for a 500,000 won ($410) subsidy for all Koreans regardless of income.

“Only a week ago, those people boasted that they will become a party with more than half (of the seats), but lately they are on their knees, imploring,” Lee said, going on to say that a political party must not “show such disgraceful actions.”

As for the United Future Party, the main opposition is focusing on the shortfalls of the Moon Jae-in administration, concentrating mainly on economic policies.

“Over the past three years, Moon Jae-in’s Cheong Wa Dae controlled economic policies. The result is that small merchants and self-employed have almost completely gone under,” Kim Chong-in, co-chair of the party’s election committee, said during a rally in Cheongju, North Chungcheong Province, on Monday.

Saying that the current administration cannot deal with the current economic situation, Kim went on to say that the country will head for economic disaster if left to the ruling bloc.

Kim also claimed the administration is attempting to bring the media and judiciary under its control, saying that the administration is trying to hide its failures.

While Kim said he is certain of the party’s victory at the rally, the United Future Party is pressing voters, considering the tide to be moving against them.

According to the party’s projections, the United Future Party and its satellite Korea Future Party could win fewer than 100 seats in the worst-case scenario. The Korea Future Party is the proportional representative party established by the main opposition in an attempt to maximize its presence in the National Assembly.

“At this rate, defending the Constitution revision line is at risk,” Park Hyung-joon, co-chair of the United Future Party’s election committee, said Monday. Park was referring to the ruling bloc taking 200 of the 300 seats, which would enable the bloc to push for a constitutional revision.

“Please come together at the end. I earnestly ask (voters) to prevent the (ruling party) taking 180 seats, and running the National Assembly unilaterally.”

Aware of its candidates’ comments pushing the public away, the party expelled two candidates with only days to go to the elections.

Last week, the party removed Kim Dae-ho – a candidate for Seoul’s Gwanak-A – and on Monday the party expelled Cha Myeong-jin. Kim was expelled over controversial comments regarding senior citizens and voters in their 30s and 40s. Cha, who was running for Gyeonggi Province’s Bucheon-C constituency, was expelled for alleging that families of Sewol ferry victims engaged in inappropriate relations, and using a sexual expression in referring to a ruling party candidate.

By Choi He-suk (cheesuk@heraldcorp.com)
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