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Rival parties' leaders woo voters in capital area ahead of April 10 election

March 31, 2024 - 14:53 By Lee Jaeeun
People Power Party interim Chair Han Dong-hoon speaks on the campaign trail in Bundang, Gyeonggi Province, Sunday. (Yonhap)

Political rival parties escalated their campaigns for the April 10 general election on Sunday, particularly in the wider capital area, which constitutes about half of the 300 seats in the National Assembly and thus holds significant sway over the election outcome.

Surrounded by cheering supporters, the leaders of the country's two major parties held rival events in Greater Seoul on Sunday. The move is aimed at winning voters in the capital area since the number of seats chosen by direct votes there exceeds 120.

The 300-member National Assembly consists of 254 constituency seats and 46 proportional representation seats. Candidates for the general election will compete in 48 constituencies in Seoul, 60 constituencies in surrounding Gyeonggi Province and 14 constituencies in Incheon.

Since the official launch of the election campaign period last Thursday, the leadership of the two main rival parties has strategically targeted the capital area.

During the official election campaign period, candidates are allowed to campaign using sound equipment such as loudspeakers from 7 a.m. to 11 p.m., official election posters are posted and official election information is mailed to each household. Voters can also appeal for support for candidates using props of a certain size stipulated by law.

On Sunday morning, ruling People Power Party leader Han Dong-hoon visited Bundang, Gyeonggi Province, to join the campaign of Kim Eun-hye, a former senior secretary for press affairs for President Yoon Suk Yeol.

Then Han visited Yongin, Gyeonggi Province, to address a crowd to endorse People Power Party candidate Lee Won-mo, Yoon‘s former presidential secretary for personnel affairs. In addition, Han visited cities in southern Gyeonggi Province -- Anseong, Icheon, Gwangju and Hanam -- to campaign for ruling party candidates Sunday afternoon.

Han continued on the campaign trail, visiting Gangdong-gu, Songpa-gu and Gangnam-gu in southern Seoul. To woo votes from Christians, Han attended the Easter service at a Presbyterian church in Gangdong-gu.

Democratic Party of Korea Chair Lee Jae-myung attends Easter Mass at a Catholic church in his constituency of Gyeyang-gu, Incheon, Sunday. (Yonhap)

Meanwhile, Democratic Party of Korea leader Lee Jae-myung attended Easter services at both Protestant and Catholic churches. Lee first attended the Easter service at a Presbyterian church and then went to the Easter Mass at a Catholic church -- both in his constituency in Gyeyang-gu, Incheon -- Sunday morning.

In the afternoon, Lee campaigned in Gyeyang-4-dong, appealing to voters residing in the area‘s apartment complexes, as well as declaring his support for local Incheon groups at his campaign’s office.

This election holds significant importance for both main parties. For the ruling party, failure to obtain a majority in the National Assembly would likely render Yoon a lame duck for his remaining three years in office. On the other hand, the main opposition Democratic Party of Korea is seeking to retain its parliamentary majority, while calling for a day of judgment on the Yoon government.

According to a Gallup Korea poll conducted on 1,001 people from Tuesday to Thursday, 49 percent said more opposition candidates should be elected, while 40 percent of the respondents said more ruling party candidates should be elected. The remaining 11 percent withheld their opinion. The survey had a margin of error of 3.1 percentage points at a 95 percent confidence level.