Stars spice up campaigns
By Park Si-soo
Several candidates are running a star-studded campaign in the lead-up to the April 11 National Assembly elections. This is made possible due to their personal ties with movie stars, TV presenters and beauty contest winners, triggering a sense of jealousy among their rivals.
Novelist-turned-politician Kim Han-gil is leading one such campaign thanks largely to his wife, Choi Myeong-gil, an actress. The 59-year-old is running in the Gwangjin-A electoral district in Seoul on the ticket of the opposition Democratic United Party (DUP).
The opening ceremony of his campaign office on March 29 was embellished by the presence of several movie stars and celebrities, including Hwang Shin-hye, Shim Hye-jin and Sohn Chang-min.
Rep. Kim Eul-dong, who is seeking reelection in the Songpa-C electoral district on the ticket of the ruling Saenuri Party, is running a campaign with the full support of her movie star son Song Il-gook.
The actor, known to be shy and introvert, has been following his 67-year-old mother since the beginning of the official campaign, delivering speeches, doling out leaflets and handling other chores for other campaigners.
Song’s presence is catching the attention of young voters during Kim’s campaign.
“I saw many young women flocking around campaigners to catch a glimpse of the actor,” said Kim Sook-hee, a young voter in his early 20s.
Actress Kim Ji-soo, whose stage name is Yoon Sei-in, is a daughter of Rep. Kim Boo-kyum, a three-term lawmaker seeking reelection in the Susung-A district in Daegu on the DUP ticket.
She recently joined her father’s campaign following the end of a TV drama where she played one of the leading roles.
“I will give a full-support to my father through the remaining part of the campaign period,” she said.
Among other celebrities embroiled in campaigning are actress Lee Young-ae (for Saenuri candidate Chung Jin-seok), former TV announcer Roh Hyun-jung (for Saenuri candidate Chung Mong-joon), Miss Korea-turned-actress Lee Honey (for DUP candidate Moon Hee-sang) and a Miss Korea-turned-TV announcer Han Kyung-jin (for independent candidate Han Chang-goo).