Rival parties in war of words
The ruling and opposition parties launched a war of words Friday, raising suspicions about each other’s candidates’ qualifications to be representatives. They focused on allegations of flawed ethics and slips of the tongue by candidates to discredit the rival parties ahead of the April 11 National Assembly elections.
The main opposition Democratic United Party (DUP) mounted an all-out effort to assail ruling Saenuri Party candidates engulfed in a series of illegal campaigning and plagiarism allegations, as a final attack a week ahead of the Wednesday election.
The DUP urged Moon Dae-sung, who is running in Busan’s Saha District, to withdraw as plagiarism of his doctoral thesis has been confirmed, igniting much debate over his legitimacy as an eligible candidate for a lawmaker.
“Since the plagiarism of Moon’s doctoral thesis has been proven, he has no other option but to apologize to the public and step down,” DUP spokeswoman Kim Yoo-jung said in a press briefing.
“Kwon Sung-dong of the ruling Saenuri Party’s interim leadership committee, who is running in Kagwon’s Kangneung District is suspected of bribing a priest at a local Kangneung Sungduck Church, with an envelope bearing his name,” a fact finding mission said showing related material. “The Central Election Management Committee (CEMC) also requested a police investigation,” it added.
The opposition alleged other ruling party candidates including Song Jin-sub, running in Ansan’s Sangrok district, and Shim Jae-chul, running in Anyang’s Dongan constituency were spreading false information.
The Saenuri Party recently slammed DUP candidate Kim Yong-min, running for Seoul’s Nowon District over his foul language and sexual remarks about the former U.S. President George W. Bush among others.
“The DUP strategically nominated Kim Yong-min as its candidate. Figures chosen as party candidates show what a political party tries to pursue. The DUP has to clarify whether Kim’s thoughts represent the identity of the DUP,” said Rep. Lee Hye-hoon, a chief strategist of the ruling party.
Kim, a panelist of the popular political podcast “I am a Petty Trickster” running for Nowon A district in Seoul on the DUP ticket, recently drew anger over his abusive and sexual remarks made in the mid-2000s.