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Rival parties eye Jan. 31 or 30 for first one-on-one presidential debate

All News 15:14 January 19, 2022

SEOUL, Jan. 19 (Yonhap) -- The ruling Democratic Party (DP) and main opposition People Power Party (PPP) agreed Wednesday to push to hold their first one-on-one presidential debate on Jan. 31 or 30.

The parties reached the agreement during working-level talks and will propose the dates to KBS, MBC and SBS, the three TV stations hosting the debate, both sides said.

"Our No. 1 proposal is to ask for it to be broadcast between 7 and 10 p.m. on Jan. 31," PPP Rep. Sung Il-jong said. "If the broadcasters say they have difficulty scheduling it, our No. 2 proposal is to have it broadcast in the same time slot on Jan. 30."

Lee Jae-myung (R), the presidential candidate of the ruling Democratic Party, and Yoon Suk-yeol, the candidate of the main opposition People Power Party, clap during an event for small businesses in Seoul on Jan. 18, 2022. (Pool photo) (Yonhap)

Both dates fall during the Lunar New Year holiday, which will run from Jan. 29 to Feb. 2.

Sung said the holidays are a time when families gather across generations, allowing more people to watch the debate and choose between DP presidential candidate Lee Jae-myung and PPP candidate Yoon Suk-yeol.

DP Rep. Park Ju-min said his party accepted the PPP's proposal to suggest the two dates to the broadcasters. If they object, he said his party remains ready to accept Jan. 27, as initially proposed by the hosts.

The DP announced Jan. 27 as the date of the debate Tuesday, but the PPP countered that it was merely a suggestion from the broadcasters and instead proposed Jan. 31.

The minor opposition People's Party and minor progressive Justice Party have denounced the planned debate as an act of collusion between the two largest parties and demanded it include their candidates Ahn Cheol-soo and Sim Sang-jeung, respectively.

The People's Party filed an injunction request Wednesday to stop the debate from going ahead.

hague@yna.co.kr
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