Saenuri heavyweights launch campaigns for Seoul mayoral raceUpdated: 2014-03-18 21:57:14 (KST)
The Saenuri Party has three competitive candidates vying to become the party's Seoul mayoral candidate, tycoon-turned-politician Chung Mong-joon, former Prime Minister Kim Hwang-sik, and supreme council member Lee Hye-hoon.
Seven-term lawmaker Chung paid a visit to the Noryangjin fish market in Seoul early Tuesday in a bid to win the hearts of everyday citizens.
"The Noryangjin fisheries market is a symbol of Seoul. The market provides fresh seafood to some 10 million Seoul citizens every morning. If I become the Seoul mayor I will make Noryangjin a place where people can come and enjoy."
Chung and ex-Prime Minister Kim are seen as the frontrunners to challenge the incumbent mayor, Park Won-soon.
In a joint survey conducted by Gallup Korea and the JoongAng Ilbo newspaper Park was ahead of Chung by only 0.4 percentage points -- well within the margin of error -- with 42.5 percent.
Kim trails Park 34.3 percent to 47 percent.
Sixty-six-year-old Kim, who served as prime minister under former President Lee Myung-bak, has vowed to make Seoul a vibrant city.
He snapped at the recent merger of the main opposition Democratic Party and independent lawmaker Ahn Cheol-soo's political group.
"The term "new politics" has been sullied by the main opposition bloc, which champions the breaking of old political practices. I think it's better to use the term upstanding politics."
Former two-term lawmaker Lee Hye-hoon also laid out her vision for Seoul.
"Citizens want Seoul to become an economically vibrant city again. I will do that by making the capital a financial, medical and tourist hub. I will also create more jobs and stabilize the real estate market."
It's widely thought any three of the Saenuri candidates would, if they won, use the four-year mayoral term as a springboard to run in the 2017 presidential race.
"The ruling Saenuri Party is expected to pick a single candidate to take on incumbent Park Won-soon by April 25th. Seoul citizens will have to wait until June 4th to decide whether they want more of the same or a new face in City Hall.
Ji Myung-kil, Arirang News."
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