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South Korea's opposition says disruptive protesters interfering with campaign

Former Seoul Mayor Oh Se-hoon is running for parliament in South Korea. File Photo by Mario Guzmán/EPA
Former Seoul Mayor Oh Se-hoon is running for parliament in South Korea. File Photo by Mario Guzmán/EPA

March 23 (UPI) -- Opposition party politicians in South Korea say their campaigns are being disrupted or interfered with ahead of general elections in April.

Oh Se-hoon, a candidate affiliated with the conservative United Future Party, and a former mayor of Seoul, is running for representative of the Gwangjin District in the South Korean capital. Oh is running against Ko Min-jung, the former spokeswoman for President Moon Jae-in's office.

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Oh said he will temporarily suspend his campaign because of "illegal" interference, Korea Economic Daily reported Monday.

The United Future Party was created this year and is the successor to the main opposition Liberty Korea Party.

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Oh said Seoul National University students affiliated with a progressive coalition on their campus have been interfering with his election campaign.

"At a campaign spot where I greet people, more than 10 people affiliated with the university coalition held signs and shouted slogans," Oh said Monday. "It made it impossible to campaign."

Oh also said he complained to local police but law enforcement took no action against the picketers, according to the report.

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The South Korean politician added he will suspend his campaign until the case is properly investigated.

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South Korean lawmaker Na Kyung-won, also a politician with UFP, said "outside groups" are hindering her campaign.

Seoul's Gwangjin District issued a statement, saying the incident will be investigated to see if there was a possibility the picketers were violating election law.

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The UFP was created to consolidate conservative support in South Korea. It also created a "satellite party," the Future Korea Party, in order to target proportional representation seats that are not determined by popular vote.

A recent dispute between FKP and UFP is threatening coalition unity, however. FKP had included few among UFP's recommended list of external candidates, a move that caused friction and the resignation of FKP chairman Han Sun-kyo.

Yonhap reported Monday FKP is to replace most prospective candidates in the wake of the dispute.

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