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NPAD rushes to traditional home turf amid tight race

Posted July. 23, 2014 04:58,   


Kim Han-gil, co-chairman of the main opposition New Politics Alliance for Democracy, rushed to Suncheon-Gokseong, South Jeolla Province on Tuesday, eight days before the by-election and re-election on July 30. Taking a tour of election speeches with his party’s candidate Seo Gap-won in Suncheon City, Kim said, “What did he do for the region as President Park Geun-hye’s only confident hailing from the Jeolla provinces,” in criticizing candidate Lee Jung-hyun of the ruling Saenuri Party. It is quite unusual that a party’s chairman visits its own traditional turf halfway through the election race. The situation of the race is so serious that Seo had to ask the party’s leadership for support in election campaign.

Suncheon-Gokseong district is NPAD’s "home turf," but opinion polls have shown that Lee is making a powerful splash. An opinion poll (in 700 people, error margin of ±3.7 percentage points with a 95 percent confidence rate) conducted on Monday by CBS Nocut News showed a gap of just 7.0 percentage points in approval rating between Lee (24.7 percent) and Seo (31.7 percent). A poll (in 1,541 people from Thursday to Sunday last week, error margin of ±2.53 percentage points with a 95 percent confidence rate) conducted on the same date by Suncheon suggested that Lee (45.5 percent) is leading Seo (35.8 percent).

Analysts say that Lee’s election pledge of "budgetary bombardment" for the district is working among the voters. Lee has said, “If elected, I will help bombard the district with a massive amount of budget like bombs as a ruling party lawmaker." A source at the NPAD raised concern, saying, “If the party hands over the home turf to President Park’s confident, it will come to lose raison d’etre.” As the main opposition party faces pressing situation, its Co-Chairman Ahn Cheol-soo will also reportedly visit the district to deliver speeches of endorsement for Seo on Sunday.

Lee is moving around the district by bicycle alone from early in the morning to late at night every day. When Rep. Jang Byeong-wan of the NPAD downplayed Lee’s pledge at the parliamentary Special Committee on Budget and Accounts on Monday, saying, “Candidate Lee’s pledge of budgetary bombardment is out of the question,” Lee refuted by saying, “If they fail to secure budget due to their incompetence, they should not hamper efforts.”