Parties go all out to woo voters as election day nears

Han Dong-hoon, center, interim leader of the ruling People Power Party (PPP), speaks on a campaign truck during a rally endorsing the party's candidate running for a constituency in Seongnam, Gyeonggi Province, Sunday. Yonhap

Political parties are engaged in heated campaigning with less than a week left until early voting for the general elections. The ruling People Power Party (PPP) is escalating attacks on its liberal opposition the Democratic Party of Korea’s (DPK) controversial candidates, while the DPK’s election strategy is focused on scrutinizing the Yoon Suk Yeol administration to resonate with voters who are displeased with the government’s performance.Early voting is scheduled for Friday and Saturday, ahead of election day on April 10. Parties are actively encouraging eligible voters to participate in early voting, given the possible impact of the two-day advance voting turnout on determining actual election outcomes.

In the two parties’ own analyses as reported Sunday by Newsis, the DPK anticipates victory in at least 150 electoral constituencies out of 254, while the conservative PPP expects its candidates to win in at least 80.Taking a closer look, among the 122 constituencies covering Seoul, the surrounding Gyeonggi Province and Incheon, the DPK foresees victory in 85 — either by a significant or a slim margin. The PPP expects that it will secure wins in 24 of these districts.Over the weekend, the PPP initiated fresh attacks against opposition candidates embroiled in real estate speculation scandals, including Yang Moon-suk, the DPK’s candidate running for the Ansan-A constituency in Gyeonggi Province, and Gong Young-woon, who is running for Hwaseong-B in the same province.In 2020, Yang’s daughter, who was then a college student in her 20s, allegedly secured a bank loan of 1.1 billion won ($817,000) from the country’s primary mutual financial institution MG Community Credit Cooperatives, ostensibly claiming the loan was for business purposes after registering herself as a self-employed individual. However, the funds were actually used to purchase a home in Seoul’s affluent Seocho District, which is now owned by candidate Yang and his wife.

Gong, a former president of Hyundai Motor, faces allegations of transferring real estate in eastern Seoul’s Seongsu-dong in 2021, initially valued at 1.18 billion won, to his 23-year-old son who was fulfilling his mandatory military duty at that time. The property’s value has since more than doubled to 3 billion won. The PPP suspects that Gong was aware of the potential price surge, as Hyundai affiliate Hyundai Steel announced plans to relocate a major factory to the Seongsu area shortly after Gong purchased the real estate in 2017.The PPP urged the DPK to make appropriate decisions about these two candidates, in an apparent message for them to drop out. In response, both candidates acknowledged that their actions may not align with the public’s expectations, but denied engaging in any illicit activities.Yang said on Saturday that he would sue several media outlets for falsely framing the issue as “loan fraud,” arguing that his family’s actions technically harmed no one.During a canvassing event in Seongnam, Gyeonggi Province, Sunday, PPP interim leader Han Dong-hoon took a jab at Yang, saying: “(His) loan scam has harmed innocent people. The funds should have gone to small business owners who really needed them. Yang Moon-suk should sue me first to find 스포츠토토존 out who is wrong.”

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