Official Campaigning Begins & CandidatesUpdated: 2012-03-29 PM 12:00:00 (KST)
We have less than two weeks left until the general elections and our in-depth coverage tonight focuses on the campaign trail.
And to tell us more, we're now joined by our political correspondent Lee Ji-yoon in the studio.
Good evening, Ji-yoon, so what's the latest on the election front[Reporter : ] A total of 927 candidates kicked off their official campaigns today,. which means that from now on, most of the candidates will be busy managing tight schedules up until April 11th.
And now, let's get a quick glimpse of what the heads of each political party were up to, on this first day of campaigning.
The ruling Saenuri Party's election committee leader Park Geun-hye and her party's candidates campaigned in Cheonggye Square in Jongno district earlier Thursday, to greet voters and ask for their support.
[Interview : Park Geun-hye, Election Committee Chairperson
Saenuri Party] "Once the 19th National Assembly begins, we, the Saenuri Party will make our promises into laws within 100 days."
Meanwhile, the main opposition Democratic United Party's election committee chairperson Han Myeong-sook, together with minor Unified Progressive Party co-head Lee Jung-hee, stepped up campaign efforts in Gwanghwamun Square in Seoul and its surrounding areas on Thursday.
[Interview : Han Myung-sook, Chairperson
Democratic United Party] "The April general elections will be a judgment day. The current administration and its illegal surveillance of citizens, as well as the administration's efforts to try and cover it up with money, must be judged by the public."
Candidates will continue to campaign up until the day before election day on April 11th, with hopes of winning over as many voters as possible.
Well, we can see that both parties are fired up.
But now, can you tell us some major local races to keep an eye on[Reporter : ] Sure thing, Sean.
Let's start over in Seoul's Jongno district, considered a barometer of public sentiment with its long political history.
This is where former Democratic Party leader Chung Sye-kyun, and the ruling Saenuri Party lawmaker, Hong Sa-duk will run against each other on April 11th.
Hong has pledged to extend the Sin Bundang Line to the area near Gyeongbok Palace in Jongno.
The line currently connects Gangnam district with Bundang district in Seongnam city.
Chung, on the other hand pledged that, he will widen the roads and make the district look more attractive.
And according to the latest joint opinion poll conducted by Korea Gallup, Embrain and Joongang Daily, it's a VERY close race, with Chung receiving 37.8 percent support, and Hong right behind with, 35.6 percent.
[Reporter : ] Another place to keep an eye on is, Dongjak-B constituency in central Seoul.
This is where the current head of Hyundai Heavy Industries and Shipbuilding, Chung Mong-joon of the ruling party, will compete against former CEO of Hyundai Capital and Hyundai Motor, Lee Kye-ahn of the main opposition party.
Chung has promised to devote his private assets, to launch development projects, while Lee pledged to support traditional markets and independent businesses.
Latest opinion polls show, Chung ahead of Lee with 45.4 percent.
[Reporter : ] Over in the country's southern port city of Busan, a 27-year-old Son Su-jo of the Saenuri Party is running against, political heavyweight, Moon Jae-in of in the Sasang constituency.
Busan has long been considered a conservative stronghold, but has recently shown a swing in polls toward the opposition camp.
Polls show that Moon is well ahead of Son for now, with 53.4 percent support.
So Ji-yoon, anything else we need to pay attention to before election day[Reporter : ] Well, aside from these key battles, pundits say that candidates running as independents, could also become a key variable in determining who will win in races that are expected to be closely contested.
Thanks, Ji-yoon for the report, and do keep us updated right up to election day.
[Reporter : ] Sure thing.
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