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S.Korean provincial chief confirmed as ruling party's prez candidate (Ld)

Seoul, Oct 11 (IANS) South Korea's ruling Democratic Party (DP) on Monday confirmed the nomination of Gyeonggi Governor Lee Jae-myung as its 2022 presidential candidate, adding that it was decided after runner-up, former Prime Minister Lee Nak-yon appealed the results.

Lee Jae-myung won 50.29 per cent of all votes cast in the course of the party's 11-round primary since last month, followed by Lee Nak-yon with 39.14 per cent, reports Yonhap News Agency.

The Gyeonggi Governor needed a majority of the votes to avoid a runoff.

"We announced Lee Jae-myung as the DP candidate for the 20th presidential election yesterday (Sunday)," Rep. Song Young-gil, chairman of the party, told reporters at the national cemetery in the central city of Daejeon accompanying the Governor.

Hours after Lee Jae-myung's victory, Lee Nak-yon's camp officially filed an objection with the party headquarters, calling for a final runoff.

They argued that votes thrown in support of two candidates who dropped out midway through the primary, Chung Se-kyun and Kim Doo-gwan, should have been counted toward the total ballots.

Lee Jae-myung pledged a powerful reform of the real estate market, saying in his acceptance speech that he will rid the country of the stigma of "a republic of unearned real estate income" through his reform.

The 56-year-old said the upcoming presidential election, scheduled for March 9 next year, will be an ultimate battle against the corrupt establishment, noting that people need to decide whether to go back to the dark past or start off as a new country of hope.

Seeing the present time as a grand transformation era, Lee Jae-myung said he will push for a powerful state-dominated economic renaissance, eliminate unfairness and irrationality in every corner of the country, and root out unearned income.

The lawyer-turned-politician also vowed to adopt universal welfare programs on basic income, basic housing and basic finance, while enhancing investment in culture, science and technology.

In the presidential vote, Lee Jae-myung is expected to be pitted against either former Prosecutor-General Yoon Seok-youl or five-term lawmaker Hong Joon-pyo, the leading candidates in the main opposition People Power Party's (PPP) presidential primary.

According to a joint survey by four pollsters published last week, Lee Jae-myung had 26 per cent of support.

Following him were PPP candidates Yoon and Hong with 17 per cent and 15 per cent, respectively.

In a hypothetical two-way race between Lee Jae-myung and Yoon, Lee Jae-myung had 44 per cent of support against Yoon's 33 per cent.