The last round of odds and ends before we head to the polls tomorrow:
- Lee Jeong-hee calls it quits. The far-left presidential candidate, who was a revelation in political entertainment since the first TV debate, withdrew shortly before the third televised debate. Some pundits (jokingly) surmised that the move was made to throw off Park Geun-hye’s preparation for the TV debate, as Park is notoriously poor at handling a situation for which she is unprepared. They might have been right.
- Third TV debate. Third and final debate featured only Park Geun-hye and Moon Jae-in. It also drew significantly less viewership compared to the first two, possibly because Lee Jeong-hee’s entertainment was not there. Once again, Park was very, very unimpressive by any objective measure. The best moment was when Moon asked what Park Geun-hye did, as the head of the majority party in the National Assembly, to address the problems that she now proposes to address. Repeatedly, Park said she would deal with them if she becomes the president, wiping away five years of inaction.
- “Don’t vote, please.” Kim Mu-seong, the chief campaign manager for Park Geun-hye, said in a breakfast meeting with the press: “Our strategy is to have the voters in the middle think, ‘I don’t understand what either person is saying,’ and give up the voting itself.” Kim later attempted to explain his statement further, and said the negative campaigning from both sides would turn off a lot of voters, which would help Park Geun-hye. In either case, it is pretty clear that the NFP’s victory depends on suppressing the voter turnout.
- NFP raids DUP office. Attempting to match its embarrassing exposure of an illegal campaign office, NFP staffers (along with the Elections Commission officers) raided a suspected illegal campaign office run by DUP. The problem? The office was a duly registered satellite office by the DUP — in fact, the second largest office that DUP held.
- Old soldiers. One of the more underrated points to watch in this election is how the older factions that followed Kim Young-sam and Kim Dae-jung have disintegrated. KYS’s followers are split into both Park and Moon camps. Most notably, KYS’s son Kim Hyeon-cheol expressed his support for Moon. Similarly, a significant number of heavyweights within the KDJ cabal joined Park Geun-hye’s camp, with KDJ’s former chief of staff Han Gwang-ok expressing his support for Park.
- TK’s call. With both parties claiming that they are leading the field, what does The Korean think about what will happen tomorrow? My only prediction is that, whoever wins, the differential will be less than 2 percent.