In Daegu, a conservative mecca, former President Park Geun-hye’s influence is not negligible. Although former President Park has drawn a line by saying, “There is no political pro-Park,” the prevailing analysis is that she will support the general election of her close associate, lawyer Yoo Young-ha, based on the recent book concert. In particular, it is noteworthy that a consensus is forming in the Yeouido political circles that they can take care of Yoo Young-ha. The place where lawyer Yoo ran for office on the back of former President Park is Dalseo-gap in Daegu, where incumbent lawmaker Hong Seok-jun is located. The competition between Rep. Hong and Attorney Yoo, who are considered representative pro-Yoon figures in Daegu, is sometimes expressed as a competition between pro-Yoon and pro-Park. Accordingly, Dalseo-gap in Daegu is considered a representative district in Daegu where primary elections are fiercely contested.
◆Park Geun-hye and Yoo Young-ha enter Dalseo-gap
In the upcoming general election, it is virtually impossible to mention Daegu Dalseo Gap without mentioning former President Park. According to the Daegu area political circle on the 12th, Daegu Dalseo-gap is adjacent to Daegu Dalseong-gun, which gave former President Park a gold badge a total of four times, including the by-election, so voters share a lot of their lives, and there is a lot of nostalgia for former President Park. It’s a big place.
In particular, former President Park, who had been absent from her private residence in Daegu for a year after receiving a special pardon in December 2021, has been increasing her public activities in earnest since last year. Former President Park held a book concert in Daegu on the 5th to commemorate the publication of his memoir, ‘Through the Darkness and Towards the Future’. He said, “I will not participate in politics again,” but added, “I will repay the people’s great love and add my small effort if it can help our country develop in the future.”
At this event, a large number of ruling party general election candidates, including pro-Park (pro-Park Geun-hye) figures, appeared and revealed their pro-Soviet ties with former President Park. In particular, the person who attracted a lot of attention was Attorney Yoo, who accompanied former President Park to the talk concert. Lawyer Yoo took full advantage of the Park Geun-hye effect by providing additional explanations whenever former President Park mentioned past state-run corruption incidents.
In Yeouido, many people in the pro-Park faction say that former President Park will take care of Attorney Yoo at least as much as he does. A re-elected member of the People Power Party said, “Although he has cut off ties with other pro-Park politicians, former President Park must have no choice but to take care of Attorney Yoo.” He added, “(Former President Park) will provide continued support in the future.” “We will do it,” he predicted.
Attorney Yoo’s Achilles’ heel is his own political past. He ran for successive elections for the 17th, 18th, and 19th National Assembly members in Gunpo, Gyeonggi-do, but was defeated in all of them. In the 20th general election, he moved to Songpa-gu, Seoul and received a single nomination, but was unable to run due to the scandal involving representative Kim Moo-sung at the time. In addition, he declared to run for mayor of Daegu in April 2022, but was eliminated in the People Power Party primary, and in May, he applied for the People Power Party nomination in the Suseong-gu National Assembly by-election put forward by Mayor Hong Jun-pyo, but was also eliminated. In fact, it was a series of failed races, and the fact that he moved around various regions is considered Attorney Yoo’s shortcoming. In particular, in the case of Dalseo-gap, Attorney Yoo has no special connections.
◆A close match with Chin-yoon and Hong Seok-jun… Fierce primary competition predicted
In the case of incumbent Rep. Hong, who is opposing this, during President Yoon Seok-yeol’s presidential primary, he declared his support for President Yoon first among active congressmen in the Daegu region, and was listed as a pro-Yoon Gye congressman early on. In particular, he raised his reputation by responding to fake news about President Yoon and First Lady Kim Kun-hee through activities in the party’s media special committee. Recently, he was appointed as head of the Regulatory Reform Task Force (TF) at the People Power Party Pledge Development Headquarters and is making regulatory reform pledges for the general election. Rep. Hong is also confident of victory in the primary and nominations, citing achievements such as increasing the number of responsible party members by more than three times in three years.
However, it is a burden for Rep. Hong that two active city council members supported Attorney Yoo and that his approval rating with Attorney Yoo has risen sharply in a short period of time due to the Park Geun-hye effect.
Yeongnam Ilbo and TBC jointly commissioned Ace Research and conducted a public opinion survey on 502 residents of Dalseo-gap, Daegu, over the age of 18 over two days on the 3rd and 4th (response rate of 4.8%, ±4.4% points at 95% confidence level, median As a result (see the Election Opinion Survey Deliberation Committee website), in terms of the suitability of candidates for the next National Assembly member, Rep. Hong received 32% and Attorney Yoo received 29%, showing a very close race within the margin of error. He was followed by Kwon Taek-heung, former head of the Daegu regional headquarters of the Korean Confederation of Trade Unions (15%).
What is unusual is that the younger the age group, the more likely they were to support Rep. Hong, and the older the age group, the more they tended to support candidate Yoo. The approval ratings for Rep. Hong among those in their 20s and 30s were 30% and 28%, respectively. Attorney Yoo recorded 19% of those in their 20s and 21% of those in their 30s. Those in their 60s supported Attorney Yoo with 36% and Rep. Hong with 35%. In other words, it can be seen that support for Attorney Yoo is strong among those in their 60s or older, who have strong nostalgia for former President Park.
Above all, this is an unexpected result considering that Attorney Yoo, who registered as a preliminary candidate for the People Power Party on the 22nd of last month, had a short campaign period. Accordingly, some are citing former President Park Geun-hye’s halo effect as the reason for Attorney Yoo’s high approval rating. In the end, Rep. Hong and Attorney Yoo formed a strong rivalry, predicting a heated primary race.
Reporter Kim Geon-ho [email protected]
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