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(LEAD) Lee, Yoon to hold final campaign rallies in Seoul on eve of election

Politics 16:13 March 08, 2022

(ATTN: UPDATES with latest events from 4th para; CHANGES photos)
By Lee Haye-ah

SEOUL, March 8 (Yonhap) -- Ruling party presidential candidate Lee Jae-myung and his main opposition rival Yoon Suk-yeol were set to wrap up their hard-fought campaigns with final rallies in Seoul on the eve of the election Tuesday as both sides claimed they would ultimately emerge victorious.

The ruling Democratic Party (DP) said the weekend's record turnout of 36.93 percent during the two-day early voting reflected the convergence of Lee's supporters following last week's surprise merger deal between two leading opposition candidates.

The main opposition People Power Party (PPP) countered, however, that the high turnout demonstrated the public's yearning for a change of government.

Lee Jae-myung, the presidential candidate of the ruling Democratic Party, speaks during a campaign rally in Goyang, north of Seoul, on March 8, 2022. (Pool photo) (Yonhap)

On Tuesday, Lee started the day with a news conference, pledging to send special envoys to the United States, China, Japan and North Korea as soon as he is elected to help bring lasting peace to the Korean Peninsula.

He also promised to issue an executive order to lift COVID-19 business curfews and freeze main public utility charges until after the pandemic ends.

Lee then held campaign rallies in Seoul's financial district of Yeouido and in the surrounding cities of Goyang, Paju and Incheon. Later Tuesday, he will stop in Gwangmyeong before returning to the capital for a finale event at Cheonggye Plaza, a location symbolic of the candlelight rallies that forced the ouster of former President Park Geun-hye in 2017.

DP Chairman Song Young-gil, who was attacked with a hammer while campaigning in Seoul the previous day, was discharged from a hospital and returned to the campaign trail.

Lee's last event is scheduled for 10:30 p.m. in the Hongdae neighborhood.

Meanwhile, PPP candidate Yoon swung through the nation from south to north and along the conservative strongholds of the eastern half.

Starting on Jeju Island, he stumped through Busan and Daegu before heading to Daejeon and Seoul for a finale event at Seoul Plaza, just 400 hundred meters away from Lee.

Yoon Suk-yeol, the presidential candidate of the main opposition People Power Party, holds hands with his supporters during a campaign rally in the southeastern city of Busan on March 8, 2022. (Pool photo) (Yonhap)

In Busan, he was joined by Ahn Cheol-soo of the minor opposition People's Party, who dropped out of the race last week to merge campaigns with Yoon.

The PPP candidate's last stops will be near Konkuk University in eastern Seoul and Gangnam Station in the south.

Also, minor candidate Sim Sang-jeung of the progressive Justice Party canvassed voters in Seoul's northern Nowon district before attending rallies near Korea University and Hanyang University.

She will wrap up her campaign targeting young voters in the Hongdae area.

Sim Sang-jeung, the presidential candidate of the minor progressive Justice Party, dances during a campaign rally in Seoul on March 8, 2022. (Pool photo) (Yonhap)

hague@yna.co.kr
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