(stand-up ed: paul)
"The positions up for grabs are 17 city mayors and provincial governors.
And here -- Gyeonggi-do Province that surrounds the capital Seoul -- is the biggest battleground region where competition is really heating up between President Yoon's People Power Party and the main opposition Democratic Party.??
Running for the Gyeonggi-do provincial governor from the ruling PPP's side is Yoon's former spokesperson Kim Eun-hye.
Kim launched her campaign at the very place where Yoon held his rally.
"Only with the help of the central government can local issues be solved. It's why the province needs a ruling party candidate."
On the DP's side is Kim Dong-yeon -- former campaign merger partner of Yoon's main election rival Lee Jae-myung -- who previously served as Gyeonggi-do provincial governor himself.
"We must pick the right person who can counter the Yoon government and its absolute power."
Recent polls show the two running neck-and-neck with any gap falling with the margin of error.
Incheon, Chungcheongnam-do, and Daejeon are other key swing regions -- where major parliamentary by-elections are also taking place.
(????) Both the PPP and the DP are targeting these areas to gain the majority of the 17 positions.
The PPP's goal is to win at least two of them,expecting safe victories in the conservative strongholds?? as well as in Seoul -- (????) where its Oh Se-hun seemingly in favor to keep his post against DP former chair Song Young-gil.
"It??s a competition between a well-prepared Seoul expert versus the former Incheon mayor who was a failure.??
??With an increasing need lately to keep the government accountable, a candidate like myself should be part of the Cabinet to do so, right???
With Seoul being ruled out the DP's trying to win at least three swing regions in addition to its liberal strongholds, Jeju and Sejong.
With the government controlled by the (????) PPP and parliament -- by the (????) DP -- (????) eyes are on how the regional powers would shape the nation's political dynamics.
Lee Kyung-eun, Arirang News.