South Gyeongsang Province Gov. Hong Joon-pyo on Sunday stepped up harsh rhetoric to cast himself as the strongest candidate that the conservative camp can possibly field to fend off the liberal camp in the upcoming presidential election.
In a televised debate between the presidential hopefuls of his Liberty Korea Party, the firebrand politician voiced confidence in competing against Moon Jae-in, the front-runner in the race from the liberal Democratic Party of Korea.
Hong Joon-pyo (Yonhap)
“I can crush Moon within 10 minutes in a debate,” said Hong during the debate that included former six-term lawmaker and Gov. Rhee In-je, former Floor Leader Rep. Won Yoo-chul, North Gyeongsang Province Gov. Kim Kwan-yong and Rep. Kim Jin-tae. “A couple of TV debates would be enough to prove it,” he added.
The outspoken governor announced Saturday his presidential bid in the southeastern city of Daegu, a conservative stronghold and the political hometown of former President Park Geun-hye.
Instead of focusing on national unity and better communication, Hong stressed “strong leadership” is more crucial to mending fences in a country divided over ideology following the impeachment of Park earlier this month.
According to Realmeter poll released Friday, Hong was picked as the party’s top candidate, followed by Rep. Kim Jin-tae and former Gov. Rhee.