Yoon’s Pledge to Build Major Mall in Gwangju Sparks Controversy

The idea of ​​building a major shopping mall in the liberal stronghold of Gwangju has become a political hot potato, after presidential candidate Yoon Suk-yeol of the main opposition People Power Party made it his campaign promise this week.

Yoon revealed the idea of ​​building Gwangju’s first mega-mall on Wednesday, pointing out that Gwangju is the “only” city without such a facility and blamed the ruling Democratic Party of Korea for obstructing the plan.

“People in Gwangju aspire to have a big mall, like all other big cities have. How come only Gwangju doesn’t have such a mall here? Youn said. “It’s because the ruling Democratic Party opposed the plan.”

Yoon also denounced the ruling party for failing to pursue the region’s development, despite dominating support in the region for decades.

The ruling Democratic Party hit back in response to Yoon’s proposal, saying Yoon’s pledge lacked understanding of Gwangju’s regional economy.

“The ruling Democratic Party has not opposed the launch of a shopping mall complex in the area. … But it is important to consider the effects such a mall will have on local business areas,” the ruling party headquarters in Gwangju said in a statement.

Representative Song Gab-seok of the ruling Democratic Party representing Gwangju released a statement, calling Yoon’s pledge “ignorant”.

“Of Gwangju’s 1.44 million residents, the lives of some 600,000 people depend on sole proprietors and small business operators. A large shopping mall can threaten their livelihoods,” Rep. Song said.

Against the opposition, People Power Party leader Lee Jun-seok insisted that the candidate’s election promise reflected the wishes of Gwangju residents.

In a press release, the People Power Party headquarters in Gwangju cited the result of its survey which shows that more than 70% of city residents in their 20s and 30s were in favor of launching a mall there. low, and 59.6% of sole proprietors in the city also expressed “strong support” for the plan.

Gwangju, located in the southwestern part of the Korean Peninsula, is the sixth most populous city.

In 2015, retail giant Shinsegae Group sought to build a shopping complex at Hwajeong-dong in Gwangju, but backed down after facing strong opposition from a regional association of traders and groups. civics.

In the latest Gallup Korea survey on Friday, Yoon saw his support rating in Gwangju and the northern and southern provinces of Jeolla – the territory of the Liberal Democratic Party – jump 12 percentage points, to 18%, compared to the previous week. .

Support for ruling party presidential candidate Lee Jae-myung in the region fell slightly from 69% to 68%, in the same survey of 1,007 adults from Tuesday to Thursday.

Overall, Yoon leads the polls, garnering 41% public support to Lee’s 34%. Ahn Cheol-soo of the Minor Opposition People’s Party got 11% support, and Sim Sang-jung of the Minor Progressive Justice Party gained 1 percentage point to show 4%.

For more information on the results of the investigation, visit the National Electoral Investigation Deliberation Commission home page.

By Jo Herim (herim@heraldcorp.com)


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Peggy P. Gilmore