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Candidates rush to last minute canvassing

With the presidential election just around the corner, candidates traveled to regions across the nation, in hopes of wooing voters from rival strongholds, and also to appeal to those who have not yet made their mind up.

Lee Jae-myung, the major ruling Democratic Party of Korea candidate, visited Jeju Island on Monday for the first time since his official election campaign kicked off. 

Lee Jae-myung, the major ruling Democratic Party of Korea candidate, makes a speech while canvassing on Jeju Island. (Yonhap)
Lee Jae-myung, the major ruling Democratic Party of Korea candidate, makes a speech while canvassing on Jeju Island. (Yonhap)

“State affairs is not a practice field for an amateur,” Lee said while canvassing near Dongmun Market on Monday, targeting his counterpart Yoon Suk-yeol of the major opposition People Power Party, who is relatively new to politics.

“Individuals do not have to know about state affairs. But for the person who would become a president to not know about state affairs, it is a sin,” Lee said.

Though Lee’s election campaign has nearly come to an end, Lee did not visit the Jeolla provinces -- an area known to be traditionally supportive of Democratic Party of Korea -- out of confidence of voters’ support. The early voting turnout figures for the area were the highest in Korea, falling near 50 percent.

The liberal candidate moved on to continue his canvassing in Busan and Daegu, the home ground of the conservative People Power Party.

Though North Gyeongsang Province is an area that had strongly supported candidates from conservative political parties, the Democratic Party of Korea remains optimistic as Lee is the first presidential candidate from the party who was born in the area.

Lee went up to Daejeon and Cheongju in Chungcheong Province, which constitute major vote-casting areas. In Cheongju, he was joined by the former Finance Minister Kim Dong-yeon, who stepped out of the election race to support Lee.

Yoon, the contender from the major opposition People Power Party, headed to Gyeonggi Province on Monday. He was joined by Ahn Cheol-soo, the head of the People’s Party who dropped out of the election and announced his support for Yoon. 

Yoon Suk-yeol, the major opposition People Power Party candidate, makes a speech while canvassing in Siheung, Gyeonggi Province. (Yonhap)
Yoon Suk-yeol, the major opposition People Power Party candidate, makes a speech while canvassing in Siheung, Gyeonggi Province. (Yonhap)


“Candidate Yoon is represented by the keywords ‘fairness and common sense.’ If Yoon is joined with my (vision for) the future, science technology and integration, we can make a better Korea,” Ahn said while canvassing for Yoon in Hanam, Gyeonggi Province.

Ahn announced last Thursday he would drop out of the race to merge his campaign with Yoon for the greater good of “regime change.”

Like Lee, Yoon attacked his counterpart, mentioning the development project scandal allegedly involved with Lee.

“How can a man of corruption be competent for economic revival?” Yoon said, targeting Lee’s campaign slogan.

“A president cannot revive the economy. Private businesses and sectors are incomparably bigger, richer and smarter than the government,” he said. “The president and government should only remain honest.”

Yoon fully devoted himself to the southern Gyeonggi Province area, appealing to voters in Lee‘s home ground. Lee became a big-name politician through his career in the area, as the governor of Gyeonggi Province and mayor of Seongnam City.

The two frontrunners will wrap up their election campaigns and make their final appeals to the nation on Tuesday -- the last day of the election campaign -- in Gwanghwamun, central Seoul. Lee will make his speech at the Cheonggye Plaza, while Yoon will take the stage at Seoul City Hall Plaza.

By Im Eun-byel (silverstar@heraldcorp.com)
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