Two more join crowded primary race of Liberty Korea Party

Two politicians announced their intention on Tuesday to join the already crowded race to become the Liberty Korea Party’s presidential nominee.

Rep. Kim Jin-tae, a key loyalist to former President Park Geun-hye, and North Gyeongsang Gov. Kim Kwan-yong said they will run in the conservative party’s primary.

So far, nine figures from the former ruling party have publicly announced their ambitions. South Gyeongsang Gov. Hong Joon-pyo also plans to declare his candidacy later this week.

The party, reeling from a corruption scandal involving the former leader and her ensuring removal from office last week, is closely watching whether Acting President and Prime Minister Hwang Kyo-ahn will join the contest.

Hwang has yet to declare his candidacy but ranks between second and third in national opinion polls. He is the only conservative figure who shows a meaningful presence in the presidential competition.

Even before the race got off, the party is embroiled in a dispute over its presidential primary rules as minor contenders protested what they said would give undue favors to Hwang.

The three candidates ― former six-term lawmaker Rhee In-je, former Gyeonggi Province Gov. Kim Moon-soo, and former editorial writer at the JoongAng Ilbo Kim Jin ― vowed to boycott the competition, after the former ruling party decided to allow prominent figures to skip preliminary races and join the final primary belatedly.

The three said the clause, which permits additional candidate registration before opinion polls begin for the main contenders, leaves the door open for Hwang to take part in the primary belatedly. (Yonhap)

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