Lee’s former aide declares primary bid
A former Cheong Wa Dae chief of staff Tuesday declared his bid to run in the ruling party’s primary to choose a presidential candidate for the December slated election.
During a news conference held at Seoul National University, Yim Tae-hee, 56, vowed to break “the old, outdated framework of Korean politics.”
“Crony politics and infighting have long been seen as dominant characteristics of Korean politics. I would like to design a whole new political system where infighting doesn’t exist. I would like to end the current war-like, zero-sum-rule dominating politics,” he said.
Yim is the third ruling camp candidate making his presidential bid official after Gyeonggi Governor Kim Moon-soo and businessman-turned-politician Chung Mong-joon.
Rep. Lee Jae-oh, who is regarded as President Lee Myung-bak’s right hand man, will reportedly announce his presidential bid Thursday.
In the ruling camp, there are several other potential candidates waiting to select a time to announce their bid.
The potential pool of candidates includes Kim Tae-ho, a former governor of South Gyeongsang Province, now a lawmaker-elect.
The primary day has yet to be set as the ruling party first plans to select a chairperson and several Supreme Council members on May 15. The new leadership will then set details of the primary, including when it will be held.
Yim, who served as the chief presidential aide from 2010-2011 called on Park Geun-hye, a leading presidential hopeful, to play a stepping-stone role and open up a new era for Korean politics.
“I would like Chairwoman Park to join me in breaking the old politics structure that has lasted for the past 40 years by playing a stepping stone-like role in the new era,” Yim said.
His remarks were construed as meaning that the unrivaled presidential bidder might give up her presidential ambitions. He has yet to clarify if the above interpretation is correct though.
Regarding the primary rule, Yim sided with other minor candidates calling for an open primary.
Before becoming presidential chief of staff, Yim had served as a three-term lawmaker after entering politics in 1996. He also served as chief secretary to then President-elect Lee Myung-bak after Lee’s landslide victory in the 2007 election and was then appointed Labor minister after Lee was sworn in.