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South Korea presidential candidates clash over COVID relief plans

Lee Jae-myung reversal on universal relief comes after Youn Seok-yeol lambasts plan

Lee Jae-myung, left, of the ruling Democratic Party says he has given up on plans to seek another round of universal relief payments. Youn Seok-yeol, a former prosecutor representing the conservative main opposition People Power Party, had lambasted the plan as "cash-spraying populism." (Source photos by Reuters and Kyodo)

SEOUL -- On Thursday, a candidate to be the next president of South Korea announced he would give up on plans to seek another round of universal relief payments to boost the recovery from the pandemic, backing away from a signature pledge in the name of political harmony.

The candidate, Lee Jae-myung of the ruling Democratic Party, said he would abandon the plan due to the lack of consensus over relief payments among the two major political parties and the financial authorities, and concerns that a drawn-out battle over the terms of relief would delay payments.

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