Parties Enter Election Race in Full Swing

Write : 2012-02-10 13:50:19 Update : 2012-02-10 15:57:39

Parties Enter Election Race in Full Swing

Anchor: The April eleventh general elections are just two months away, and rival parties have entered into a grand battle with their political fates at stake. Our Kim Soyon has more.

Report: The 19th general elections on April eleventh are about more than just electing new lawmakers. The voting is considered a bellwether for testing public sentiment and a prelude to the presidential election in December.

Rival camps believe the winning party in April will fare well in the presidential race as the general election outcome will most likely affect the presidential race. A buzz has already generated in the political circle that a win in April means a victory in December.

Depending on the general election results, the currently larger ruling camp may or may not have the same momentum going into December. Power may transition to the opposition, in which case the ruling party would no longer be able to comfortably conduct state affairs, and President Lee Myung-bak’s lame duck period would arrive sooner.

As the final test ahead of the presidential race, the performance of leading presidential hopefuls in April is expected to directly impact the candidates’ prospects leading up to December.

Chairwoman Park Geun-hye of the ruling Saenuri Party’s emergency council will test her leadership skills through the general elections. President of the Roh Moo-hyun Foundation, Moon Jae-in, who has emerged as a key presidential hopeful on the opposition side, has decided to run in a Busan district. Computer expert and Seoul National University Professor Ahn Cheol-soo is also expected to use the general elections to expand his potential political prowess.

Following the ruling camp’s adoption of the name “Saenuri Party” and the opposition merger to form the “Democratic United Party,” both parties have put on a new face and appear committed to large-scale personnel shakeups and policy reform.

As for now, the ruling party remains on the defense following a slew of adverse events, including the ongoing investigation into bribery allegations that led to National Assembly Speaker Park Hee-tae’s resignation. The DUP more or less appears to have the upper hand ahead of the general elections, but given the up and down in Korean politics, many pundits say there is no guaranteed outcome.

Multiple variables could change the way the election plays out, including the ever sluggish economy, the welfare dispute, and potential splits and mergers in the ruling and opposition campaign front.

Kim Soyon, KBS World Radio News.

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