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Assembly election odds and ends

Another roundup of Korean politics as the National Assembly elections are 15 days away:

  • Jock Ph. D. — an oxymoron?  I do have great admiration for very smart athletes. But Moon Dae-Seong, NFP candidate for Busan Saha-gu 1, is apparently not one of them. Moon is a former Olympic gold medalist in taekwondo, and now a member of the International Olympics Committee. Moon is now in hot water, as he allegedly plagiarized his Ph. D. thesis. We are not talking about a few missed quotation marks here and there. Moon’s thesis copied a previously existing thesis word-for-word for more than 20% of his thesis. (Moon’s thesis even has the same typo as the original.)
  • Go west, young NFP.  The progressives’ foray into Busan and Gyeongsang-do is the big news nowadays, but an upset could be quietly brewing in the other direction. In Gwangju Seo-gu 2, NFP’s candidate Lee Jeong-Hyeon has leading UPP’s Oh Byeong-Yoon by around 3 percent. If Lee holds, he would be the first conservative Assemblyman from Gwangju in 27 years.
  • Lies, damned lies and KRW 30 million.  Oh, Sohn Su-Jo. How I hoped that you would be the next scion of healthy conservatism in Korea. Instead, the 27-year-old conservative darling who bravely challenged the heavyweight Moon Jae-In in Busan is caught in her lies, flailing for her survival. Sohn initially promised that she would run her campaign only with KRW 30 million, which was the deposit for her apartment in Seoul. However, not only did she spend far past KRW 30 million, but also she was hanging onto the deposit. (Instead, she has been using her parents’ money.) NFP at first appeared to distance itself from Sohn, but Park Geun-Hye again visited Sohn in Busan in support.
  • “Victorious warriors win first, then go to war.”  Said Sun Tzu. Kim Jong-Hoon, NFP candidate for Seoul Gangnam 2, apparently took this lesson to heart. Kim, known for his leadership of KORUS FTA, said on a radio interview that he did not want to run in “some dark place,” referring to electoral districts north of the Han river. NFP granted Kim’s wish, slating him to run in the richest neighborhood in Seoul in which conservatives has had 2-to-1 advantage in votes in the last two decades. Even Ye Olde Chosun criticized this move as “embarrassing.” In contrast, the progressives put out Chung Dong-Yeong, one of DUP’s heaviest heavyweights who had been the most vocal opposing KORUS FTA. Kim is leading Chung by 8 to 10 percent.
  • Wolf! Wolf! Communist! Communist!  It would not be elections time if the NFP did not rely on the old faithful. Lee Jeong-Hee, co-chair of the UPP, withdrew her candidacy at Seoul Gwanak 2 on the allegation that her staff encouraged respondents to lie on the phone survey that served as the progressive primary. Following her withdrawal, conservative media began reporting that her decision to withdraw was made by Gyeonggi East Alliance, a faction in the former Democratic Labor Party. According to reports, Gyeonggi East Alliance is a particularly hardcore communist faction controlled by Lee’s husband. UPP claims that the organization disappeared 10 years ago. Problem for NFP is that in the last few elections, “crying communist” strategy backfired. NFP’s Seoul area candidates, in particular, are complaining that the party is shooting itself in the foot by engaging in this tactic.
  • Ahn Cheol-Soo is still alive.  And he apparently has a clear view on the role he plays in Korean politics. In a recent talk, Ahn said that if he declared that he would not be involved in politics, the current politicians would not feel the pressure to change from their old ways.
  • The Bottom Line.  As of March 27, both NFP and DUP/UPP are expected to win approximately 130 seats. All in all, looks like we are heading into a close one.
  • Yu Bum Suk

    This isn’t about politics, but with regard to plagiarism, I really wish that the thesis committee and defence panel were also brought into scrutiny in cases like this. I can see no way in which I could have plagiarised 20% of my thesis without my supervisor catching on. I really wonder if this (and other) fellow’s plagiarism involved gross negligence or a blind eye.

  • http://rjkoehler.com Robert Koehler

    Following her withdrawal, conservative media began reporting that her decision to withdraw was made by Gyeonggi East Alliance, a faction in the former Democratic Labor Party. According to reports, Gyeonggi East Alliance is a particularly hardcore communist faction controlled by Lee’s husband. UPP claims that the organization disappeared 10 years ago.

    Or so the UPP said. Besides, what the GNP spokesperson said, namely, “통합진보당이 말하는 경제민주화는 30대 대기업을 3000개로 쪼개는 대기업 죽이기, 전교조와 전공노의 정치활동 자유화, 한·미FTA 폐기를 통한 한·미 동맹 해체,” isn’t false. And I’d be more outraged by the red-baiting if certain segments of the opposition—and no, not the fringe UPP—weren’t engaged in opportunistic anti-Americanism and “Yi Won-yong-baiting” Oh, look, Chung Dong-young did it again:

    http://news.mk.co.kr/newsRead.php?year=2012&no=179359

  • SomeguyinKorea

    So, he allegedly plagiarized the passage about SPSS (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/SPSS)? Ouch. Plagiarism might just be the tip of the iceberg.

  • R. Elgin

    This summary demonstrates clearly problems with politics here or the ethical blindness that serves as a guiding principle too often.

  • http://rjkoehler.com Robert Koehler

    Remember, children, red-baiting is bad, but…

    http://www.hani.co.kr/arti/cartoon/hanicartoon/525512.html

  • austin

    Here we go again using the “Progressives” terminology. What sort of ding bat arrogant I’m superior know it all twit, assumes that every idea he has or everything that comes out of his mouth is “Progressive!”, and hence labels himself as such. Please stop using that misleading and blatantly dishonest terminology.

  • cm

    It’s so typical for TK to try to minimalize and trivialize the actions by the left, including the rigging of the polls, when this has been a huge issue that could hurt the Progressive/Pro NK/Communist faction’s chances in the coming elections. The funny thing is they had this all wrapped up, but they did everything they can to make this into a close race.

  • http://askakorean.blogspot.com thekorean

    And I’d be more outraged by the red-baiting if certain segments of the opposition—and no, not the fringe UPP—weren’t engaged in opportunistic anti-Americanism and “Yi Won-yong-baiting”

    Not a fan of Chung Dong-Yeong either. But all I’ve got to say is — nobody in the history of South Korea died from the accusation that he was too friendly with the U.S. or Japan. Red scare belongs to a special category.

    Please stop using that misleading and blatantly dishonest terminology.

    That’s the name they are known as. Can’t do anything about it.

    It’s so typical for TK to try to minimalize and trivialize the actions by the left, including the rigging of the polls, when this has been a huge issue that could hurt the Progressive/Pro NK/Communist faction’s chances in the coming elections.

    Be grateful that I did not go farther hitting the NFP. As I always say, for every wrongful act by the progressives, I can find you two wrongful acts of the same caliber from the conservatives. You want to talk about LJH camp attempting to manipulate the survey? How about you talk about the two NFP candidates who attempted to manipulate the survey too?

    “새누리당에서도 비슷한 논란이 불거졌다. 경북 문경-예천 이한성 후보는 중앙당에서 공천 관련 여론조사가 한창이던 지난달 28일 지역의 일부 주민에게 ‘여론조사가 진행 중입니다. 연령을 30, 40대라고 대답하고 응해주시기 바랍니다’란 문자 메시지를 발송한 사실이 드러났다. 이 의원 측은 “농촌지역 특성상 젊은 층 여론조사가 제대로 이뤄지지 않을 것 같아 이를 홍보하려다 빚어진 실수”라고 해명했다.

    대구 수성을 주호영 후보 측도 지난달 23일 선거사무실에서 50~70대 유권자 60여 명을 모아놓고 “현역의원 하위 25%를 걸러내기 위한 ‘컷오프’ 여론조사 전화가 걸려올 경우 20~30대로 답변하라”고 권유했다. 당시 그 자리에 참석했던 유권자가 녹취 파일을 공개해 이런 사실이 드러났으나 주 후보 측은 “즉흥적인 아이디어로 얘기한 것일 뿐 조직적으로 움직인 것은 전혀 없다”고 해명했다. 새누리당의 경우 여론조사 경선이 아니었기 때문에 큰 문제로 번지진 않았으나 ‘여론 조작’을 시도했다는 측면에선 이정희 후보와 다를 게 없다.”

    (source)

  • burkingshaw

    Robert,

    Some time ago, you, or a contributor, posted a fine summary of Korean political parties, their histories, and a brief primer of their platforms, positions and visions for the future of Korea.

    As we approach this election, could you, or a contributor, re-post and update that primer for those of us who are not so well read into current Korean politics? It would help me to follow better when I try to read posts like this one.

    Thanks!

  • http://askakorean.blogspot.com thekorean

    I think you are talking about my first post, burkingshaw.

    I will put up an updated viewer’s guide, more tailored to the Assembly elections.