Court dismisses minor presidential candidate's request to stop 4-way TV debate excluding him
SEOUL, Jan. 28 (Yonhap) -- A court on Friday dismissed an injunction request filed by a minor presidential candidate to stop TV stations from airing a four-way presidential debate that excludes him.
The country's three mainstream broadcasters -- MBC, KBS and SBS -- offered earlier this week to host a debate between the presidential candidates of the four biggest political parties on Monday or Thursday.
Protesting the proposal, Huh Kyung-young of the National Revolutionary Party, which holds no parliamentary seat, filed for the injunction with the Seoul Western District Court to stop what he called an "unfair" debate.
In a hearing held earlier in the day, Huh's lawyer argued that excluding Huh, who roughly stands fourth in public opinion polls, from the TV debate would be unjust and compromise people's right to vote.
The broadcasters countered that their choice of debaters was in line with the Public Official Election Act that requires the inclusion of only those who have at least 5 percent support or whose party holds at least five parliamentary seats in TV debates.
"The National Revolutionary Party has no parliamentary seat and Huh falls short of the 5 percent threshold ... thus the selection is within the scope of the broadcasters' leeway," a lawyer representing the TV stations noted.
The four-way debate would involve Yoon Suk-yeol of the People Power Party, Lee Jae-myung of the ruling Democratic Party, Ahn Cheol-soo of the People's Party and Sim Sang-jeung of the progressive Justice Party.
In recent opinion polls, Huh has often been ahead of Sim in fourth place, including a survey conducted last Sunday by the Korea Information Research that showed Huh running fourth with 5.6 percent support ahead of Sim's 3.1 percent.
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