Updated February. 03, 2014 08:16
Kang Bong-gyun, former finance and economy minister, made a firm decision to run for the governorship of North Jeolla Province as candidate for Ahn Cheol-soos new party. Kang said on Sunday, If the issue over party nomination of candidates for local governments is finalized (within this month), I will declare my candidacy in accordance with the Ahn Cheol-soo new partys foundation schedule. If Kang, a former three-term lawmaker (Gunsan), joins the party, competition between the main opposition Democratic Party and Ahns new party will likely further intensify in the Jeolla region.
Ahn, an independent lawmaker, reportedly met with Kang several times since November last year, soon after he declared his bid to found a new party. Ahn reportedly persuaded Kang by saying I will use North Jeolla Province as the most important target constituency. I will establish a beachhead for the new party in North Jeolla and please help me. Analysts say that Ahn is apparently paying attention to the fact that among North Jeolla, Gwangju Metropolitan City and South Jeolla Province, the Ahn fever is strongest in North Jeolla. A recent survey of political parties approval ratings conducted in 500 voters in North Jeolla by a weekly magazine found that the approval rating of a candidate for Ahns new party stood at 42.8 percent, more than 10 percentage points higher than a candidate for the Democratic Party (31.8 percent). A source at Ahns side said, The North Jeolla chapter of the committee for new politics, or the preparatory committee for the new party, has more than 20,000 members who pay monthly membership fee.
Considering this situation, analysts say it would be very difficult to predict the result of a three-way race for the North Jeolla governorship. For the Democratic Party, Rep. Yoo Seong-yeop and Jeonju Mayor Song Ha-jin declared their participation in the partys nomination race. Former lawmaker Cho Bae-sook also declared her candidacy for the North Jeolla governorship as member of Ahns new party.