Leading candidates kick off regional rallies in swing region, ruling bloc stronghold

Leading candidates kick off regional rallies in swing region, ruling bloc stronghold
Yoon Seok-youl (center), the presidential nominee of the main opposition People Power Party speaks at the first regular meeting of the party’s election committee in Seoul on Monday. (PPP)
Presidential contenders pushedd for support in the provinces Monday, with the opposition candidate visiting a key swing region, and the ruling party candidate staying in a party stronghold.

Yoon Seok-youl, the presidential nominee of the main opposition People Power Party chose the Chungcheong provinces as his first campaigning destination after the formation of his election committee.

“I am a son of Chungcheong and I can say Chungcheong is my hometown,” Yoon said, explaining his rally plans in the province before departing, at the election committee’s first regular meeting in Seoul. Yoon was born in Seoul, but his father Yoon Ki-joong, a professor emeritus of Yonsei University‘s Department of Statistics, is from Gongju, South Chungcheong Province. Korean politicians often describe themselves as the son of a regions to appeal to voters there, and to accentuate their ties and commitment to the region.

“Historically, Chungcheong has always been the region holding the casting vote, and the battleground in presidential elections. I would like to kick off the D-100 count of my journey for victory, by sending up the flare for regime change in Chungcheong, the province in the center of the country.”

The party said the three-day trip was intended to deliver Yoon’s vision for “balanced development and future growth.”

On Monday, Yoon was to visit Milmaru Observatory in Sejong, a metropolitan city in the Chungcheong region that is home to most government ministries, and talk about his regional development plan.

Afterward, he was to move to the Korea Atomic Energy Research Institute in Daejeon, the region’s biggest city, where he would talk about scrapping of Moon Jae-in Administration’s nuclear phase-out policy. Yoon is critical of the liberal government’s plan to break away from nuclear energy, as he believes it is an important energy source that can support the country’s carbon-neutral goals.

Later in the afternoon, Yoon was to host a talk show dubbed, “With Seok-youl,” with voters in their 20s and 30s.

On Tuesday, Yoon will travel to Cheongju in North Chungcheong Province and then to Cheonan and Asan in South Chungcheong Province on Wednesday, according to the opposition party.

The standing chairman for Yoon’s election campaign committee, Kim Byong-joon, would accompany Yoon on the trip, the party said. As Yoon is struggling to recruit veteran campaigner Kim Chong-in, Kim Byong-joon has become the de-facto commander of the election committee for the conservative party candidate. The current party chief, Lee Jun-seok, who is the co-standing chairman, has said he would entrust things to Kim. 

Leading candidates kick off regional rallies in swing region, ruling bloc stronghold
Lee Jae-myung, the presidential candidate of the ruling Democratic Party speaks at the his nationwide election committee in Gwangju on Monday. (Yonhap)
Meanwhile, Lee Jae-myung of the ruling Democratic Party, continued his campaign in Gwangju, vowing to become an “economy first” president, wrapping up his five-day trip to the liberal stronghold Honam region. Honam encompasses Gwangju, South Jeolla Province and North Jeolla Province.

“From now on, my only goal is to become an ‘economy president.’ I will concentrate all my ability to fill in people’s wallets and for economic growth of the country,” Lee said, in the nationwide election committee meeting in Gwangju.

Lee also spoke with university students in Gwangju to discuss youth issues, before visiting a traditional market in Younggwang County in South Jeolla Province.

In a local poll by Realmeter on Monday, Yoon stood ahead of Lee, garnering 46.3 percent of approval rating from 3,023 respondents. Lee stood at 36.9 percent. Coming in at a distant third place was Ahn Cheol-soo, representing the minor opposition People‘s Party, with 3.7 percent, as Sim Sang-jung of the progressive Justice Party was next on 3.3 percent.

By Jo He-rim (herim@heraldcorp.com)

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