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(LEAD) Moon raises over 30 bln won for election in just 1 hour

All News 17:08 April 19, 2017

(ATTN: RECASTS headline, lead; UPDATES with additional details in paras 2-6)

SEOUL, April 19 (Yonhap) -- Presidential front-runner Moon Jae-in on Wednesday raised more than 30 billion won in campaign funding within only an hour, his party said.

Moon's liberal Democratic Party opened the online fundraiser at 9 a.m. and closed it an hour later after thousands signed up to donate, apparently far more than the party originally sought.

A total of 10,543 people signed up to crowdfund Moon's campaign in just 61 minutes, while 4,488 of them have actually deposited or wire transferred a combined total of 32.98 billion won (US$28.9 million), according to party officials.

The party earlier planned to raise only 10 billion won through its first fundraising event. The Democratic Party earlier planned to hold additional fundraising events down the road. Party officials noted additional events may be unnecessary as they may have already raised enough funds for the election.

Presidential front-runner Moon Jae-in of the Democratic Party announces his policy pledges for middle-aged workers in a press conference held at his party headquarters in Seoul on April 19, 2017. (Yonhap)

The money raised Wednesday will be used to pay for Moon's campaign for the May 9 election, which could cost up to 50 billion won.

It will be paid back, with an annual interest of 3.6 percent, on July 19 when the party and its presidential nominee will have their costs reimbursed by the election watchdog, according to party officials.

Each candidate may be reimbursed up to 50.9 billion won, a ceiling placed by the National Election Commission, as long as they win more than 15 percent of all eligible votes cast in the upcoming election.

Those with less than 15 percent but more than 10 percent of the votes will have half of their costs returned, while those with less than 10 percent will end up poorer by the amount they spend over the 22-day campaign period that began Monday.

A return on investment in Moon's election fund is considered a sure bet as the liberal presidential nominee currently leads most opinion polls, enjoying an approval rating of over 40 percent in some.

A captured image of the Democratic Party's Web site for its presidential candidate Moon Jae-in shows a pop-up message telling visitors and prospective investors that the first fundraising program for Moon held on April 19, 2017, has come to an end after the target amount was raised. (Yonhap)

The party officials said the election funds were designed to give people a chance to become part of shareholders in a regime change.

Moon, if elected, will be the country's first liberal head of state in a decade since the late former President Roh Moo-hyun's 2003-2008 presidency.

bdk@yna.co.kr
(END)

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