May 13, 2010 12:21
Ruling and opposition party lawmakers are pinning their hopes on two momentous occasions ahead of the June 2 regional elections -- the results of the investigation into the sinking of the Navy corvette Cheonan expected around May 20 and the first anniversary of the death of former President Roh Moo-hyun on May 23.
The ruling Grand National Party expects the announcement of the Cheonan probe to rally conservative voters and possibly prod moderates to vote for the GNP. The party says the public's growing preference for conservative candidates is already evident in the Seoul mayoral race. The approval rating for main opposition Democratic Party mayoral candidate Han Myeong-sook has been flat after rebounding shortly when a court cleared the former prime minister of bribery charges on April 9. The ruling party says that shows voters rallying behind conservative candidates in light of North Korea's possible involvement in the sinking of the Cheonan.
But a DP official said, "As long as there's no conclusive evidence linking North Korea with the sinking, there will be no impact on voter sentiment." The DP hopes that the first anniversary of Roh's death will appeal more emotionally to voters.
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