Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Park-Na debate on KBS

The October 26 Seoul Mayoral race (and the traditional mudslinging contest that comes with it) is raging between GNP nominee NA Kyung-won and AHN Cheol-Soo's protégé PARK Won-soon, the independent who defeated the DP favorite PARK Young-sun in the liberal primaries.

Both candidates debated yesterday on KBS, and it's hard to tell who will prevail.

NA looked definitely more ready for the job, the former lawyer exposing a clear vision and a perfect understanding of all key challenges and issues when PARK remained at the principles level, refusing to enter into any details, even regarding his strategy*. Oddly, the representant of the opposition looked on the defensive against the "incumbent", who seeked a positive approach reminiscent of OH Se-hoon's.

PARK struck exclusively the emotional chord, putting sometimes too much emphasis on his Beautiful Foundation (half of his final one-minute pitch !), and I guess he appealed better to the older segment of the audience. But frankly, from what I saw yesterday, this man doesn't seem to understand what the job is all about, what's at stake for the future of Seoul. He did enter the race quite late as a total outsider, but a minimum of preparation was expected.

PARK also exposed a suicidal stubbornness regarding the "Younghwa Bridge" episode : 30 of the 40 bn KRW needed for the renovation have already been invested, but he said he would leave it like that, just to illustrate the waste of money caused by previous administration (OH Se-hoon). PARK confirmed that yesterday, even when reminded that it would mean more hassles and traffic jams for Seoulites (if you take this bridge one of these days you understand the statu quo is not an option, and the bridge had to be renovated because it had caused many accidents in the past). Needless to say, NA pointed out his irresponsible attitude and the fact that he was, again, more into criticizing than proposing.

Still, NA remains behind in the polls. And a NA win would mean more months of cohabitation around City Hall...

Either way, let's hope Seoul will not lose its momentum.

Seoul Village 2011
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