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Seoul Opposition Leaders Reject Vote, Urge Protests

December 17, 1987|Times Wire Services

SEOUL, South Korea — Opposition leaders today rejected the victory of Roh Tae Woo, the governing party candidate, in presidential elections and called for nationwide protests to stop him from taking power.

The two main opposition parties and the main dissident alliance all charged that the government had resorted to massive fraud to win Wednesday's elections.

The opposition called for a repeat of the June demonstrations that forced the government to agree to democratic elections.

"Let us re-enact the glory of the national resistance in June. The rigged election must be rejected with all the peoples' strength," the National Coalition for Democracy said in a statement.

The National Election Commission said that with 97% of the vote counted, Roh was winning with 37.2% of the vote. His victory over two strong foes was by a surprising margin of nearly 2 million votes.

Opposition candidate Kim Young Sam called for a massive struggle against the government as he also charged the election had been a fraud.

"I call upon the people to rise up," he said.

Thousands of demonstrators clashed with police in the opposition hotbed of Kwangju and five other cities today.

State radio reported that more than 2,000 protesters battled police in Kwangju, trading firebombs and stones for tear gas shells. It said a bus was set ablaze and a police post attacked in the riot 175 miles south of Seoul. Kwangju is the power base of Kim Dae Jung, the other main opposition candidate who was defeated in Wednesday's voting.

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