Ruling Saenuri Party Guards Against Premature Optimism

The ruling Saenuri Party on Friday warned against premature optimism and overconfidence as polls showed its candidate maintaining a slight lead with 19 days to go before the presidential election.

The alarm was raised because some officials started expressing confidence that the 3-5 percentage point lead can be maintained as long as the party and its presidential standard bearer Park Geun-hye do not make any serious mistakes.

"Even if the rival candidate catches up, we should be able to win in the end, although the margin may be very small," a senior campaign official, who declined to be identified, said.

Others were more boisterous, hinting that Park may defeat main opposition Democratic United Party (DUP) candidate Moon Jae-in by as much as 2 million votes at the present pace.

To keep such sentiment from getting out of hand and re-energize campaigners, election camp leaders stressed that the race was far from over and that extra care must be taken not to ruin the outcome.

"It is imperative that party officials act modestly and shun all pretensions," said Kim Moo-sung, the head of Saenuri's election strategy office. He said all Saenuri officials must remain focused so they do not make mistakes.

This view was echoed by party secretary general Suh Byung-soo, who pointed out that the failure by the liberal camp to pull off a harmonious single candidacy agreement has helped, yet the lead for the most part is within the margin of error of surveys, and not significant enough to let their guard down.

The abrupt decision by independent contender Ahn Cheol-soo to drop out of the race last Friday after he clashed with Moon has limited the amount of voters supporting Moon...

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