Party eliminates Song Young-gil and Park Ju-min from Seoul mayor contention

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Representative Song Young-gil of the Democratic Party of Korea answers questions from reporters on Wednesday. (Yonhap)

The leadership of the Democratic Party of Korea excluded Representatives Song Young-gil and Park Ju-min from the selection of Seoul mayoral candidates, sparking an internal dispute over whether it was fair to exclude prominent figures keys without undergoing primaries.

The Liberal Party’s internal nominating committee decided on Tuesday evening to exclude Song and Park from the list of possible candidates in the upcoming local elections, hinting that the party will look for another candidate to carry its flag and compete with Seoul Mayor Oh. Se-hoon seeking to extend his term.

Song was reportedly excluded for failing to win the presidential election, and the nominating committee felt it was too early for Song to get involved in another election. Park was ruled out following a past real estate controversy.

Exclusion awaits final approval from the Emergency Steering Committee.

The move drew criticism from some members of the Democratic Party, with Song criticizing the decision as “self-defeating” and a way to “essentially give up the June 1 local elections”.

“There are various opinions within the party, and a united decision is not possible in a party that functions democratically,” Song told reporters on Wednesday. “As co-chairman Park Ji-hyun said, we should adhere to democratic principles to unite in one decision if our thoughts are different.”

Park Ji-hyun, co-chairman of the Liberal Party’s emergency steering committee, criticized the internal nominating committee’s decision.

“The nomination for the Seoul mayoral race is expected to be decided in the primaries,” Park Ji-hyun wrote in a Facebook post early Wednesday. “I characterize the decision to exclude former President Song and Representative Park as going against party members, citizens of Seoul and the general public.”

Park Ji-hyun said Song was at the forefront of Lee Jae-myung’s presidential campaign and contributed the most to the presidential race. She said that if Song was to be left out of the party’s defeat in the presidential race, former Cheong Wa Dae chief of staff Noh Young-min should be left out of carrying the party’s flag for the election as governor of North Chungcheong Province.

“Shouldn’t candidate Noh bear greater responsibility than former president Song, as he provided the main reason for the defeat in the presidential race with the failure of the real estate market?” Park Ji-hyun asked. “I don’t know what the standard was in decision-making.”

The decision, if it gets final approval from the party leadership, is expected to lead to a sea change in the party’s strategy for local elections, as Song and Park Ju-min have been touted as the most likely candidates to win the elections. primary if they were to be detained.

Rumors have surfaced that the Liberal Party sees Prime Minister Lee Nak-yon as the flag bearer for Seoul’s mayoral race. The party is struggling to find new candidates to fight what is likely to be an uphill battle against Oh.

Poll results showed Oh would win against any of the Democratic Party candidates expected to run in the Seoul mayoral race.

By Ko Jun-tae (ko.juntae@heraldcorp.com)

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