Lee Jun-seok speaks during an emergency committee meeting of the ruling Grand National Party at the party’s headquarters in Yeouido, Tuesday. / Yonhap
By Kang Hyun-kyung
The founder of an internet-based start-up company stole the show when the ruling Grand National Party (GNP) held the first round of meetings with its newly-recruited emergency committee members Tuesday.
Lee Jun-seok, chief of the web-based educational program provider Classse Studio, was appointed to lead the subcommittee on the hacking of the website of the National Election Commission.
The prosecution is investigating the case where an aide of Rep. Choi Gu-sik of the GNP was found to have given money to an agent in return for hacking the website of the election watchdog on Oct. 26.
Lee, 26, is one of 11 members of GNP’s interim body which will make key decisions on behalf of the ruling party, including the selection of candidates to run in the parliamentary elections slated for April.
In an interview, he said he would look closely into whether the prosecution’s forthcoming investigation results are thorough enough and make sure no suspicions remain.
Lee, a Harvard University graduate, said lawmakers will be asked to give up their vested interests and sacrifice themselves as GNP’s interim body is seeking a drive to overhaul the party.
Committee leader Rep. Park Geun-hye reportedly handpicked the young man.
Park met him for the first time in 2006 when she visited Harvard to deliver a speech. A second meeting took place after he returned to Seoul.
Since 2007, Lee has also led a volunteer group, dubbed “Baesana” referring to an association of volunteers willing to share their expertise in education for underprivileged children.
Lee was known to have initially turned down the offer to join the GNP committee but decided to accept it after Rep. Park called him in person.
Media frenzy soon followed as several reporters interviewed him. Despite the media attention, some people inside the ruling party were concerned about the representation of the interim committee.
Rep. Jeon Jae-hee said that all emergency committee members have stellar resumes, like Lee, and most of them are from high-income families.
She questioned how privileged people like Lee could know or understand the needs of working-class families that the GNP said it would focus on and doubts if the interim body could draw up applicable policy responses for a class of people that they have no idea about.
Lee took things in stride. “Lawmakers are people who have enormous leverage and therefore they are a powerful group but they are supposed to represent people from all walks of life, including working-class families,” he said.
He also said that he had no ambition to become a lawmaker and that he is only interested in correcting the system.