CHEONGJU, South Korea, Aug. 31 — Rep. Moon Jae-in, a lawyer-turned-politician, strengthened his chance of running in this year's presidential race by winning his fourth straight victory in the ongoing primary contest of the main opposition Democratic United Party (DUP) on Thursday.
The regional primary was held in Cheongju, about 137 kilometers south of Seoul, where 17,638 people living in North Chungcheong Province had registered to cast their votes.Moon won 8,132 votes or 46.1 percent of the total, to bring his accumulated number of votes won so far to 27,943 votes. This is 52.3 percent of all votes cast thus far in the primary race.
His winning streak is not surprising as the 59-year-old candidate has led public opinion polls among the four hopefuls competing for the party's nomination.
"The latest primary outcome shows that election results reflect the opinion of the people and not a candidate's organizational prowess to line up supporters," the first-term lawmaker said.
Moon added he was grateful for the support he received from the province and pledged to become a politician able to hold onto the trust of the people.
Sohn Hak-kyu, a former DUP chief, came second in the provincial race with 40.3 percent or 7,108 votes, followed by former South Gyeongsang Province Governor Kim Doo-kwan with 11.0 percent and former Commerce Minister Chung Sye-kyun with 2.6 percent.
The latest primary poll comes after a brief boycott by Sohn and Kim over allegations of an unfair mobile voting system critics claimed favored Moon.
The two resumed the race Monday after the party revealed only a small percentage of votes cast in the first race in Jeju Island had been disallowed, but there has been lingering discord among the contenders. More recently, some in the party took issue that the company in charge of managing the data of who can vote is run by Moon's brother. This has contributed to lingering distrust about the fairness of the contest.
The DUP is expected to pick its standard bearer for the Dec. 19 presidential vote on Sept. 16. If no candidate wins 50 percent or more of all votes in the primary race, the party is scheduled to hold a run-off on Sept. 23. (PNA/Xinhua)