Hwang seeks Saenuri’s leadership
Rep. Hwang Woo-yeo, floor leader of the ruling Saenuri Party, declared his candidacy Thursday for the May 15 National Convention to elect a leader and five decision-making Supreme Council members.
“For the future of the people and the country, I will not be defined by partisan politics and give my utmost for the welfare of the public,” the five-term lawmaker told reporters.
The incoming leadership will be crucial ahead of the December presidential election.
Thus far, three other candidates have thrown their hat into the ring, including Rep. Shim Jae-chul, an English teacher-turned four-term legislator, and Rep. Yoo Ki-june, a three-term lawmaker with a postgraduate degree from New York University Law School.
Political pundits say that Hwang, one of the most vocal lawmakers on human rights issues, has a good chance of winning as he has thus far demonstrated good leadership as floor leader.
Hwang played a pivotal role in helping the party maintain its majority status in the National Assembly despite a series of humiliating scandals involving the conservative party ahead of the April 11 elections.
He is also credited for giving momentum for Wednesday’s passage of 64 pending bills in a plenary session, many of which are expected to improve the livelihood of ordinary citizens.
Observer say his strong support base from Saenuri members, especially among the followers of the party’s interim leader Park Geun-hye will lead him to clinch the top post.
Park, daughter of the late President Park Chung-hee is considered one of the most likely contenders to win the next presidential election.
“I will strive for the unity of the party. A house with cracks will sooner or later collapse.” Hwang said.
He has been one of the most active members of the National Assembly in addressing the human rights abuses in North Korea.
Many legislators, even from opposition parties, say Hwang is one of the few legislators who try to pay attention to opposing views and make genuine efforts to reach compromises, instead of seeking partisan interests.