Campaign kicks off for South Korean general elections

Seoul, Feb 15 (EFE).- The electoral campaign for the upcoming South Korean general elections, set to be held on Mar. 9, kicked off on Tuesday, with preliminary polls showing a slight lead for the presidential candidate of the main opposition party.

Lee Jee-myung, the candidate of the ruling Democratic Party of Korea, officially launched his campaign at midnight by visiting a naval traffic control tower in the southeastern port city of Busan, the second most populated metropolis of the country.

In the capital, Yoon Suk-yeol, candidate of the principal conservative opposition, People Power Party, visited the National Cemetery to pay his respects in a usual campaign stop by South Korean leaders before kicking off a new political journey. Yoon is set to visit Daejeon, Daegu and Busan later on Tuesday.

The candidate of the third-placed centrist People Party, Ahn Cheol-soo, met voters in the conservative bastion of Daegu, while Sim Sang-jeung, the nominee of the left-liberal Justice Party, met supporters in Iksan, situated in the North Jeolla province, before heading to South Jeolla.

A total of 14 candidates have filed nominations for presidency with the National Election Commission, with the campaign to elect the successor to the liberal incumbent Moon Jae-in set to last 22 days.

During this period, the parties are allowed to print up to 70 campaign advertisements in print media, apart from the transmission of maximum 1-minute-long clips on radio and TV channels, up to 30 times per channel, according to relevant legislation. Speeches are allowed to be held in open spaces between 6 am and 11 pm.

These are the first general elections in South Korea since the legal age of voting was reduced from 19 to 18 years in 2020.

As per preliminary polls published on Monday, PPP’s Yoon was the most popular choice of respondents with 43.5 percent support, followed by the ruling DP’s Lee (40.4 percent), according to data released by the Korea Social Opinion Institute.

Ahn of the PP received 7.8 percent support in the survey, while JP’s Sim was backed by 3.5 percent of the respondents.

Huh Kyung-young of the National Revolutionary Dividends Party registered 1.2 percent support, while New Wave’s Kim Dong-yeon got 0.6 percent of the votes in the poll.

Ahn has proposed joining forces with Yoon, which could hand the resultant opposition coalition a decisive edge over Lee, but the largest opposition party is yet to respond to the proposal. EFE


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