Jeon Jae Hee Successful in the Gwangmyeong By-Election
Jeon Jae Hee Successful in the Gwangmyeong By-Election
  • reported by Shin Min-Kyung
  • 승인 2002.08.16 00:00
  • 수정 2013-07-12 16:27
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Political reshuffling looms large as GNP sweeps 11 districts and NMDP takes 2


As a result of the by-elections on August 8, the Grand National Party (GNP) took the victory in 11 of the 13 constituencies - 7 districts within Seoul and its environs including Jongno, Yeongdeungpo B and Geumcheon, Jin A and Haeundae in Busan, Masan-Habpo in Gyeongnam, and Bukjeju in Jeju-do - whereas the New Millennium Democratic Party (NMDP) stopped at winning in only two constituencies in the Honam region - Buk A in Gwangju and Gunsan in Jeonbuk.

With the presidential elections only four months away, the by-election was practically a preliminary to the presidential elections, receiving so much limelight that it was dubbed the mini general elections. Having faced a crushing defeat, the NMDP is expected to initiate sweeping changes in preparation for the presidential election. In Gwangmyeong, Gyeonggi-do, where the candidates' campaigns drew considerable attention for their resemblance to a battle of the sexes, the woman candidate Jeon Jae Hee (GNP) won the seat with 56.4% of the votes. However, candidate Kim Seon Mi (NMDP) from Anseong, Gyeonggi-do, had to go down in defeat despite having garnered 20 thousand votes in a district with a particularly low turnout.

As a result of this by-election, with a record low turnout of 29.7% for re-elections and by-elections since 1965, the GNP has now secured 139 National Assembly seats, crossing the majority mark of 137. For the first time since the birth of the Republic, a single opposition party has taken the majority, and this is expected to greatly influence state affairs from now on.

The GNP, which already has a landslide victory in the June 13 local elections under its belt, has now taken over the steering wheel of the National Assembly, providing itself a powerful launching pad for managing the run up to the presidential elections to its advantage. Now that it can dominate the National Assembly, the GNP is expected to go about initiating what it has been demanding all along - National Assembly inspections of corruption scandals, the special prosecution system, televised public hearings, inspection of public funds, and so on. Not only that, the GNP will have more room for maneuver in mitigating public censure regarding its presidential candidate Lee Hwe Chang's alleged cover-up of his sons' draft-dodging scandals.

Meanwhile, legislator-elect Jeon Jae Hee, the only successful woman candidate in the by-elections, said that she was happy that she had been elected through a revolutionary clean election that the citizens of Gwangmyeong had been calling for. Her comments as a successful candidate were, "This by-election has restored the pride and honor of Gwangmyeong, once tainted with corruption during the 1998 elections. I will do my best to create politics that wins the approval of the citizens."

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