Two Saenuri bigwigs announce bids for elections [2016/01/27 14:17]

The ruling Saenuri Party`s two political heavyweights Sunday announced their bids for the April general elections, foreshadowing a neck-and-neck race against the progressives and prompting an angry response from their in-house rivals.

Former Supreme Court justice Ahn Dae-hee and former Seoul Mayor Oh Se-hoon said they would run from Seoul`s Jongno and Mapo constituencies against the main opposition Minjoo Party of Korea`s Reps. Chung Sye-kyun and Noh Woong-rae, respectively.

"I stand here, reminding myself of how I felt as a young middle school student from Busan who had just moved to Seoul,” Ahn said at a press briefing. “Mapo was the stepping-stone for my life and will now be the new beginning for me.”

Having considered running in his hometown Busan, Ahn decided to run from Mapo being persuaded by party chairman Rep. Kim Moo-sung. The former prime minister-designate noted Mapo was a “special place” as he attended middle school there.

Oh, on the other hand, decided to stick to his original plan of running in Jongno with sturdy conservative votes despite chairman Kim`s repeated offer for him to run in a constituency unpopular among conservative voters to compete with liberal bigwigs such as former main opposition leader Rep. Kim Han-gil.

“When I returned to politics in April, I set up three principles -- contributing to the party`s election victory, refusing to seek an easy win and running for a significant place. I think Jongno is the place that best serves my principles,” said the former mayor in a press conference.

Ahn`s potential rival Chung is a veteran fifth-term lawmaker and had served as chairman of the Minjoo Party`s forerunner Uri Party. Oh`s prospective contender Noh is the second-term lawmaker and incumbent representative of his constituency.

Their election bids, meanwhile, caused a backlash from other prospective candidates Park Jin and Kang Seung-kyu - the former lawmakers who had previously been elected from Jongno and Mapo, respectively. Park and Kang are expected to challenge the two bigwigs during the in-house nomination contest.

Kang`s supporters attended Ahn`s press conference, shouting protests against his decision. Kang also held his own press briefing, accusing Ahn of choosing the easy way out by running on his turf and demanding the party leadership hold a strict internal primary to pick the candidate.

Park, who has been elected from Jongno three times, dismissed the former mayor`s bid as a scheme to reinforce his status as a presidential hopeful and denounced Oh for making zero contribution to the constituents.

Mindful of escalating tit-for-tat among the party`s election candidates, the party leader Kim reiterated his rule on the nomination. He promised to forgo his authority to nominate the election candidates and allow voters themselves to determine the candidates.

"I respect each candidate`s decision. The Saenuri Party will nominate candidates for the elections in accordance with the nomination rule and a fair and transparent competition among candidates,” said Kim in a text message sent to reporters.
출처: 헤럴드미디어 영자신문 코리아헤럴드 (