November 19, 2012 11:58
There are only 30 days left before the presidential election, but there has been little talk about policy and no televised debate between the candidates. Voters are facing the murkiest month before a presidential vote since direct elections began in 1987.
In the U.S., Mitt Romney was chosen for the Republican presidential ticket on May 29, 161 days before the vote. China's new president Xi Jinping underwent training to become the country's next leader for a decade. But Koreans are still wondering who will be the opposition candidate.
Democratic United Party candidate Moon Jae-in and independent contender Ahn Cheol-soo restarted negotiations on Sunday to field a single candidate, but it is uncertain whether they will be able to reach agreement before candidate registration on Nov. 25-26.
Frustration is being felt in political circles where it is said that this year's election is not being swayed by voters but by whichever of the two opposition contenders steps back in favor of the other.
Voters have been unable to ask candidates how they intend to lead the country for the next five years or how they feel about particular issues. Citing various excuses, the three candidates Park Geun-hye, Moon and Ahn, have turned down offers by main broadcasters KBS, MBC and SBS to hold a three-way debate on TV.
Also absent in this year's campaign is heated debate over big issues. All three candidates are touting the same line: narrowing the gap between the rich and poor, bolstering social welfare and seeking political reform. None seems to have a unique strategy and they have failed to generate issues of their own.
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