Candidates running for 17 metropolitan mayoral and gubernatorial races of the June 1 local elections were posted on the website of the National Election Commission as of April 28.
No one offered their candidacy for the Gyeongsangbuk-do gubernatorial race to oppose Gyeongsangbuk-do Gov. Lee Cheol-woo, who scared off prospective opponents because he is so powerful.
The ruling People Power Party (PPP) later offered Lee as a sole candidacy for the Gyeongsangbuk-do gubernatorial race.
The opposition Democratic Party (DM) found that it was not easy to nominate a candidate on its ticket on Gyeongsangbuk-do, one of PPP’s bastions, and it finally managed to handpick Im Mi-ae, a member of Geyongsangbuk-do council, who will take on Lee on the PPP ticket.
PPP candidate Lee has been on a roll since he defeated his rivals, including DP candidate Oh Jung-ki in the 2018 local elections.
Lee had rave reviews over his local government management. For instance, a survey on mayoral and gubernatorial job performance approval rating, conducted by the opinion survey institution Realmeter last December and in January, showed that Gov. Lee ranked second with a 57.9 percent share following Jeollanam-do Gov. Kim Young-rok.
Gov. Lee has been credited with having performed tasks such as attracting the special regulatory freedom zones in the Pohang, Andong and Gimcheon area and pushing for relocating an integrated new airport in the Daegu-Gyeongbuk area.
Gov. Lee’s reputation is outstanding. The public’s attention is on the possibility that he will follow his predecessors, Lee Eui-geun and Kim Kwan-yong, in being reelected for a 3rd term.
Gyeongsangbuk-do has emerged as the center of diverse topics of the President Yoon government.
The province is the epicenter of the nuclear power industry, for which the current government is taking a different stand from that of the previous government, which had weaned the nation off nuclear power.
The previous government’s anti-nuclear power policy dealt a blow to Gyeongsangbuk-do.
A plan to build six nuclear power units in the province was scrapped and Wolsong Nuclear Power Unit 1 was ordered decommissioned earlier than planned.
Figures hailing from the province, including Gov. Lee, had a meeting of reporters in January and announced outcomes of a commissioned survey that the anti-nuclear power policy cost the province 28 trillion won in damages.
Gyeongsangbuk-do Gov. Lee Cheol-woo visited President-elect Yoon Suk-yeol’s office on March 19 and asked for President-elect Yoon’s support for pending issues affecting the region.
Gov. Lee proposed seven mega-projects for the development of Gyeongsangbuk-do: the construction of an integrated new airport in the Daegu-Gyeongsangbuk-do area, a metaverse convergence industry cluster, future car materials/parts industry belt, a particle accelerator-based national advanced industry cluster, a global vaccine/bio R&D center, a national energy/forest upscale transformation project, and SOC for national balanced development.
As for the seven projects for the development of the province, Gov. Lee requested the construction of a new airport and the fostering of industries, such as future car battery and metaverse, and developing the province as strategic technology centers, such as a particle accelerator-based national advanced industry cluster.
If Gov. Lee is reelected, for him, the biggest pending issue of the province is the construction of integrated new airport in the Daegu-Gyeongbuk area.