/ National Assembly Photo Correspondents
Tensions between the four ruling and opposition parties are escalating over the date of the second TV debate for the presidential candidate. While the second four-party debate between candidates Lee Jae-myung, Yoon Seok-yeol, Ahn Cheol-su, and Shim Sang-jung, which was being promoted for the coming 8th, was canceled in the working-level negotiations, the people’s power threw a counter proposal to open the discussion on the 11th. In the process, a battle of responsibility also took place, such as sending a message to Ahn Cheol-soo, a candidate of the People’s Party, as if he was blaming the failure of the negotiations, and then receiving fierce protests from the People’s Party. As the first TV debate held last week ended successfully with a viewership rating of 39%, the fight between the parties to hold the second debate under better conditions seems to be heating up.
The People’s Power presented the 6th ’11th’ as the second discussion date. Rep. Seong Il-jong, head of the People’s Power TV Debate Working Group, said on the same day, “Candidate Yoon decided to adjust another schedule and participate in the debate on the 11th.” Earlier, during the working-level negotiations on the 5th, People’s Power announced that it would not participate in the discussion on the 8th, raising the issue of bias between the Journalists Association and JTBC, which are in charge of the discussion. However, due to concerns about headwinds such as avoidance of discussion and controversy over responsibility, it seems that the 11th was proposed again. Rep. Seong said, “In the process of working-level negotiations, Candidate Ahn Cheol-soo discussed whether it could delay the discussion by a day or two as a public debate was scheduled on the 8th. Afterwards, in the process of coordinating the schedule with other parties, it was in accordance with the opinion that the 11th would be good.”
The People’s Party immediately objected to Senator Sung’s claim. The People’s Party issued a statement saying, “At the rule meeting held yesterday (the 5th), the People’s Party questioned whether the schedule could be changed due to the (candidate Ahn’s) public debate scheduled for the 8th, but it was difficult for the Journalists Association, broadcasters, and other political parties. As soon as we expressed our intention, we immediately accepted the 8th.” “It is a very serious problem to misrepresent the date change as if it was requested by the People’s Party,” he said.
The Democratic Party of Korea is of the opinion that a debate on the 11th is possible if the People’s Party and the Justice Party accept it. Rep. Park Jumin, the head of the Democratic Party’s TV debate negotiating group, met with reporters that day and said, “We are open. However, Rep. Park expressed displeasure, saying, “It is regrettable that the people’s power is trying to enforce their position too much.” Koh Yong-jin, senior spokesperson for the Democratic Party, also commented on the same day, saying, “I cannot agree with the claim that the Journalists Association is biased, and it is absurd to say that the Journalists Association should be excluded from the debates hosted by the Journalists Association. It is absurd that the former president (JTBC) Sohn Seok-hee, who is not even in Korea, made an excuse to take issue with the relay broadcasting company.”
Jo Seung-rae, spokesman for the Democratic Party, also pointed out in a commentary, “Candidate Yoon is particularly obsessed with the ‘date’, and there is a lot of talk in the market.” The idea is that the reason why Candidate Yoon insists on or rejects a specific date as the debate schedule has something to do with the ‘shaman controversy’.