Park Young-sun delivers an acceptance speech after being declared the Democratic Party's single candidate on Monday for the April 7 Seoul mayoral election. (Yonhap)
Former Startups Minister Park Young-sun on Monday won the ruling Democratic Party‘s ticket to run in the Seoul mayoral by-election next month.
Park, also a former four-term lawmaker, was declared the winner of the party primary against sitting four-term lawmaker Woo Sang-ho for the April 7 mayoral election, according to the voting results.
Park won an overwhelming 69.56 percent of the ballots cast by voters in and outside of the party over the phone and the internet for four days to Monday. The approval rating was calculated to include extra points the party awarded to Park as a female candidate.
“By becoming one team with the Moon Jae-in administration and the DP, (I) will stably (run the city) to return happiness to Seoul citizens,” Park said in her acceptance speech.
“Over the next 100 years, Seoul will become the (world) capital of the digital economy,” she noted.
Park is also planning to compete with two other candidates from outside the party -- Rep. Cho Jung-hun from the Transition Korea party and Kim Jin-ai of the Open Democratic Party -- to select a single candidate for the liberal bloc, which she is highly likely to win.
The upcoming mayoral by-election for Seoul, home to nearly 10 million of the country‘s total 52 million population, is deemed a critical barometer of public opinion ahead of the 2022 presidential election.
The winner of the upcoming Seoul mayor election will serve out the remaining 14 months of the predecessor late former Mayor Park Won-soon’s four-year term.
Earlier in the day, Ahn Cheol-soo, leader of the minor opposition People‘s Party, won a primary with independent candidate Keum Tae-sup, clearing the first hurdle in his bid to become a single candidate for the opposition bloc.
Ahn, who has been leading some of the latest opinion polls for the upcoming election, has called for fielding a single candidate who represents the broader opposition bloc encompassing the main opposition People Power Party, in order to increase the chances of winning the mayoral election.
The PPP is set to pick its candidate Thursday, with former floor leader Na Kyung-won and former Seoul Mayor Oh Se-hoon as front-runners.
The latest polls conducted in February showed Ahn and Park are neck-and-neck in a hypothetical two-way competition for the Seoul mayoralty.
Both Ahn and the PPP agree on the need for a unified candidate to raise the chances of winning the mayoralty. Nonetheless, a thorny road lies ahead over how to choose a single candidate. (Yonhap)