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Korea's rival parties gear up for July by-elections

Updated: 2014-06-14 18:19:43 KST
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With no overall winner in this month's local elections Korea's rival parties are gearing up for a rematch in the July by-elections.
The number of Assembly seats up for grabs could be as high as 16, which would elevate it as the most hotly-contested by-election in Korea's history.
Fourteen seats were left vacant by former lawmakers who handed in their Assembly badges to run in the local elections and those who lost their seats for violating election laws.
Two more seats could be available as lawmakers are awaiting rulings on other charges.
To appeal to voters the ruling Saenuri Party's strategy will revolve around embracing President Park Geun-hye and her push for national reforms.
The main opposition New Politics Alliance for Democracy, or NPAD, has yet to release its campaign plan.
But NPAD leaders have said that new candidates should be nominated within party primaries, and political heavyweights left on the sidelines.
Some NPAD lawmakers are saying the party should broaden its alliance by forming coalitions with other smaller opposition parties like the Justice Party.
One thing that can be counted on, though, is that the main opposition alliance will continue to take aim at the government's handling of April's ferry disaster.

(Stand-up)
"Unless the main opposition provides viable alternatives to the ruling party's policies, it'll probably fail to win over voters during next month's by-elections.
But, with neither party enjoying an overwhelming advantage, voter sentiment could shift in the coming weeks.
Ji Myung-kil, Arirang News."


Reporter : mkji@arirang.co.kr

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