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South Korea kicks off campaigning ahead of April election

Published : Thursday, 28 March, 2024 at 2:50 PM  Count : 247

South Korea kicks off campaigning ahead of April election

South Korea kicks off campaigning ahead of April election

Official campaigning for South Korea's upcoming general election kicked off Thursday, with President Yoon Suk Yeol's ruling party fighting to win back a parliamentary majority and thwart opposition attempts to derail his conservative agenda.

Surrounded by cheering supporters, the leaders of the country's two major parties staged rival events in the capital Seoul to begin just under two weeks of campaigning before the April 10 vote.
Experts say the poll is crucial for Yoon's People Power Party (PPP), since the president could end up a lame duck for the final three years of his term if the opposition wins a super-majority, AFP reports.

Some forecasts cited by the Yonhap News Agency suggest opposition parties could win over 200 seats in the 300-member Assembly, giving them the ability to impeach the president or override his veto power.

"We have entered this election with the resolve to reform politics, improve public welfare," PPP leader Han Dong-hoon said during a campaign event in Seoul.

Analysts say the election is a continuation of the 2022 presidential race, when Yoon narrowly beat the opposition Democratic Party's (DP) current leader Lee Jae-myung by a margin of only 0.73 percent.

Lee is currently under investigation in a slew of cases, including for alleged bribery in connection with a firm that is suspected of illicitly transferring $8 million to North Korea. He denies all charges.

There has also been a surge in support for a party recently created by a former justice minister, Cho Kuk, who is facing two years in prison for forging credentials to aid his children's entry into elite universities. He is appealing the sentence.

The PPP's Han branded both Lee and Cho "criminals" in his opening campaign speech, and vowed to bring them to justice.

"This is not negative campaigning. This is addressing the needs of the people," he told cheering supporters.

But with Yoon's approval rating hovering around 34 percent, and public discontent running high over the country's lacklustre economy, the opposition DP and the newly formed minor third party are ahead in some polls.

Lee urged people to treat the vote as a referendum on the last two years under Yoon.

"Due to the government's incompetence, living cost has skyrocketed, and peace on the Korean Peninsula is in danger due to the foolishness of (Yoon) only shouting for war," Lee said, slamming the president's hawkish approach to the nuclear-armed North.

South Korea allows presidents to serve only a single term and Yoon's ends in 2027.


Related Topics

South Korea   Campaign   Election  

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