The Korea Herald


With Gyeonggi governor win, Democratic Party saves face

By Shin Ji-hye

Published : June 2, 2022 - 15:37

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Kim Dong-yeon (Yonhap) Kim Dong-yeon (Yonhap)

The main opposition Democratic Party took a major loss in the local elections, but Kim Dong-yeon’s narrow victory for Gyeonggi Province governor came as a partial relief and possible sign that all may not be lost for the party.

Although the party lost 12 of the 17 seats in the elections of metropolitan government to the ruling People Power Party, it won in the biggest battleground Gyeonggi Province.

According to the National Election Commission on Thursday, Kim got 2,827,593 votes, defeating his contender Kim Eun-hye, who had 2,818,680 votes. The gap between the two candidates was only about 8,900 votes.

The Gyeonggi governor‘s election was seen to be an extension of the presidential election.

Gyeonggi Province, which is the most populous region in South Korea, is the political home for former Democratic Party presidential candidate Lee Jae-myung, who previously served as governor in the province. Kim became close to Lee as his party merged with Lee’s in the presidential election to support Lee’s win.

For the People Power Party’s part, Kim Eun-hye, who served as a spokesperson for President Yoon’s election, is the president’s close aide. During the election campaign, she put forward her relationship with the president, saying she would work with Yoon as “one team.”

With Kim’s victory, his potential as the Democratic Party‘s next presidential candidate was recognized as his party struggled nationwide in the local elections.

Kim was former President Moon Jae-in’s first Minister of Economy and Finance and Deputy Prime Minister. He ran as a candidate from the New Wave party he founded in the last presidential election, but he resigned in the middle to unify with then Democratic presidential candidate Lee Jae-myung.

Kim is expected to expand public welfare and economic policies that Lee Jae-myung carried out when he was governor of Gyeonggi Province. He showed his willingness to expand basic income, one of Lee‘s representative policies. Kim also promised to offer young people and newlyweds half-price apartments to solve real estate and housing problems. He vowed to promote reconstruction and redevelopment by creating a special law for new cities such as Bundang and Ilsan when he was a candidate.