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Lee consolidates landslide lead in ruling party's primary race

Gyeonggi Province Gov. Lee Jae-myung (Yonhap)
Gyeonggi Province Gov. Lee Jae-myung (Yonhap)

SEOUL/WONJU -- Gyeonggi Province Gov. Lee Jae-myung clinched two consecutive electoral victories Sunday in the ruling Democratic Party (DP)’s primary votes to pick its presidential candidate, solidifying his landslide lead.

Lee finished first in one of the party‘s three rounds of electoral college votes, released in a regional primary event in Oak Valley Resort in Wonju, Gangwon Province, earlier in the day.

The governor garnered 51 percent of the 496,672 ballots cast by in the first electoral college vote, running far ahead of runner-up, ex-DP Chairman Rep. Lee Nak-yon, who had 31.4 percent.

In the same event, the governor was announced the winner of the regional primary vote in Gangwon Province with 55.3 percent of votes, sweeping all four of the party’s 11 regional primary votes held so far, including the vote in the Daegu-North Gyeongsang Province region a day earlier.

The accumulated rate of votes Lee has secured so far stands at 51.4 percent, followed by Lee Nak-yon at 31 percent.

Ex-Justice Minister Choo Mi-ae came in third at 11.3 percent, trailing ex-Prime Minister Chung Sye-kyun who had 4.2 percent, Rep.

Park Yong-jin at 1.2 percent and Rep. Kim Doo-gwan at 0.6 percent.

The results mark a decisive achievement for Lee, which heightens the prospect of his early and clean primary victory to run in the March 9 presidential election on the ruling party‘s ticket. So far, about one third of the total primary votes have been cast.

In addition to the two remaining electoral college votes, the DP is scheduled to hold seven additional regional primary votes across the country, including the next stop in the southern city of Gwangju on Sept. 25, wrapping up with the final destination of Seoul on Oct. 10.

If none of the six contenders wins more than half of the total ballots, the party will hold an additional run-off vote, pitting the front-runner against the runner-up, to nail down the party’s final standard-bearer. (Yonhap)