SEOUL, Jan. 31 (Yonhap) — A one-on-one debate between ruling party presidential candidate Lee Jae-myung and leading opposition candidate Yoon Suk-yeol was all but ruled out Monday as the two The parties failed to narrow their differences over the rules. .
The conservative People’s Power Party (PPP) said it failed to reach an agreement with the ruling Democratic Party (DP) even after rounds of negotiations on the details of their first two-way debate, scheduled for Monday night, before have an extended debate with two minor contenders on Thursday.
“It seems impossible to hold the debate now,” said Rep. Sung Il-jong, the PPP’s chief negotiator, saying his DP counterpart did not respond to his call to speak earlier in the day.
Whether the candidates are required to participate in the debate without background materials has emerged as a thorny issue during the negotiations, although the two sides agreed to hold free, unrestricted debate on the issues.
While the DP suggested that neither candidate use materials during the debate, the PPP insisted on using reference materials related to Lee’s alleged connection to a massive development corruption scandal.
Meanwhile, minor candidates Ahn Cheol-soo of the People’s Party and Sim Sang-jeung of the Justice Party launched separate sit-ins at the National Assembly to protest the planned one-on-one debate.
The two have applied for injunctions to prevent the three major TV stations from hosting a Lee-Yoon debate, and two courts granted the injunctions last week.
Following the court decisions, the PPP proposed a two-way debate without the participation of broadcasters. The DP agreed while demanding Yoon’s participation in a four-way debate.