▲ The race is heating up to become Jeju governor, with 10 candidates having declared by March 22. photo by Media Jeju
Predicting who is going to be the next governor of Jeju is becoming more difficult as more candidates enter the race. As of March 22, a total of 10 candidates were keenly competing against each other. Since Jeju Weekly published its first election story, “Countdown begins,” on March 12, two more candidates have officially declared for the gubernatorial election.
At a press conference, former chief executive of Samsung C&T Corporation Hyun Myung Kwan announced that he is running for the election to make Jeju a “treasure island of the world.” “There is no time to lose. Jeju ought to compete against advanced cities,” he said.
It is Hyun’s second attempt to become governor. He stood four years ago as the Grand National Party candidate and was defeated by independent candidate Kim Tae Hwan. Hyun’s decision whether to run one more time has been a pressing matter not only to the candidates but also to voters because his participation could dramatically change the results of the election.
Woo Keun Min
Hyun Myung Kwan
Hyun Ae Ja
Another event which could shake the map of the election happened on March 19, when former governor Woo Keun Min left the Democratic Party 16 days after rejoining. The party had asked Woo to rejoin to run for the gubernatorial election as its official candidate. With Woo’s popularity and high public support, the party leadership believed that he could win against the Grand National Party. Woo had the same hope.
Yet, the party’s decision faced fierce criticism and opposition from nationwide civic groups and even some politicians within the party. They argued that Woo’s conviction for sexual harassment while in the governor’s office made him unsuitable to be the party candidate. Surprised by the level of opposition, the party disqualified Woo from the preliminary election to become its official candidate. Following that decision, Woo again left the party and declared he would run as an independent candidate.
Former member of the National Assembly Hyun Ae Ja also announced on March 17 that she would run for the election as the Democratic Labor Party candidate. She said the “Lee Myung-bak administration and the Jeju governor give neither happiness nor hope to people.” She promised that she would create “a happy Jeju in which people and environment are living in harmony; employer and employee are working in a win-win manner, and people care about those who are in need.” In addition, she made it clear that she will be cooperating with any progressive candidates to compete against the ruling party candidates.
The number of candidates will decrease when each party’s preliminary election is over and each chooses its official champion. However, the current number is already unprecedented and voters may not know which end is up.
ⓒ Jeju Weekly 2009 (http://www.jejuweekly.com)
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