Park Jie-won elected DUP’s interim leader
Rep. Park Jie-won won the competition to become the new floor leader of the main opposition Democratic United Party (DUP) Friday. Together with a chairman to be elected in the June 9 National Convention, Park will lead the main opposition party until the presidential election in December.
In the meantime, he will serve as interim leader of the main opposition party until the leadership contest is held.
A rough road is ahead in interparty relations as the hardliner has vowed to fight against the ruling Saenuri Party and called for a thorough investigation of corruption scandals involving President Lee Myung-bak’s aides and relatives.
In an initial vote held at the National Assembly, the third-term lawmaker won 49 of the 127 votes casts by DUP lawmakers, defeating his rival Rep. Yoo In-tae, who received 35.
The two front runners competed again in the run-off race, in which Park won 67 votes narrowly beating Yoo, who received 60.
DUP adviser Lee Hae-chan is expected to win the chairmanship at the convention.
However, it remains to be seen whether Park will be able to settle the factional feud within the party as he and Lee have many enemies.
Meanwhile Park expressed the hope that Ahn Cheol-soo, one of the most enigmatic figures on the political scene, will join the DUP to run in the presidential election, during remarks he made shortly after winning the election.
Park, a former presidential chief of staff when the late President Kim Dae-jung was in power, was previously elected floor leader of then the main opposition Democratic Party (DP) in 2010.
The 70-year-old is considered the leader of the supporters of the late president, also dubbed his “perennial secretary chief.”
Meanwhile, in the ruling Saenuri Party, incumbent floor leader and five-term lawmaker Hwang Woo-yea will seek re-election on May 15. He is being challenged by four-term legislators Won Yoo-chul and Shim Jae-chul, three-term lawmaker Yoo Ki-june, and newly elected Kim Tae-heum, Chung Woo-taek and Lee Hye-hoon.