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(2nd LD) Ruling party rejects ex-PM Lee Nak-yon's appeal of presidential primary results

All News 16:44 October 13, 2021

(ATTN: UPDATES with details in last 5 paras)
By Lee Haye-ah

SEOUL, Oct. 13 (Yonhap) -- The ruling Democratic Party (DP) on Wednesday rejected former Prime Minister Lee Nak-yon's appeal of the presidential primary results, confirming Gyeonggi Gov. Lee Jae-myung as its presidential candidate.

The DP party affairs committee, the top decision-making body, met after Lee Nak-yon, the runner-up in the primary, demanded the panel convene to review whether the votes were counted in accordance with the party's electoral rules.

Gyeonggi Gov. Lee Jae-myung (L) and former Prime Minister Lee Nak-yon pose for photos after the governor was chosen as the Democratic Party's presidential nominee at a handball stadium in eastern Seoul on Oct. 10, 2021. (Pool photo) (Yonhap)

"The party affairs committee agreed to uphold the decision of the party's election management committee and Supreme Council regarding the rule in question," DP spokesman Rep. Koh Yong-jin said during a press briefing.

The governor won the party's nomination Sunday after securing 50.29 percent of all votes cast in the course of the primaries since early September, trailed by the former prime minister with 39.14 percent.

Lee Nak-yon's campaign argued that the ballots thrown in support of two other candidates who later dropped out should be included in the total vote count, which would reduce Lee Jae-myung's share to 49.32 percent and force a runoff as a majority of votes is needed to win the primary.

Meanwhile, DP Chairman Rep. Song Young-gil had maintained that the party's electoral rules stipulate that votes for dropouts be nullified.

The point of contention is Special Rule Article 59, which states that "in the event a candidate withdraws in the course of a primary, votes for that candidate are nullified."

According to the former prime minister's campaign, only those ballots that are mistakenly cast for a candidate following their withdrawal should be thrown out.

Koh said the panel agreed to revise the clause to prevent further disputes over its interpretation, although the details have yet to be determined.

Wednesday's decision to reject Lee's appeal was agreed by 64 of the 76 panel members, which include heads of regional chapters, local government chiefs and chairs of National Assembly standing committees.

Lee Nak-yon is widely expected to concede defeat.


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