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People’s Party elects Joo Seung-yong as floor leader

Posted December. 30, 2016 07:02,   

Updated December. 30, 2016 07:32


The minor opposition People’s Party on Thursday elected Rep. Joo Seung-yong (Yeosu B, South Jeolla Province) as its floor leader. As the four-term lawmaker is reportedly supported by other party lawmakers from the Jeolla provinces who account for two-thirds of the party’s 38 seats in the National Assembly, the People’s Party will likely be labeled as a Jeolla provincial party at least for the time being. Some observers say that Joo’s election would cast dark cloud over the position of the party’s former leader Ahn Chul-soo within the party and his presidential ambition, as he is known to have supported other lawmaker, Kim Sung-sik.

After his election, Joo told reporters that his party should have dialogue with any political forces except those supporting President Park Geun-hye or Moon Jae-in, the favorite presidential contender from the main opposition Democratic Party.

A group of People’s Party lawmakers close to Ahn seem to be reeling from Joo’s overwhelming victory, which beat their expectation of Kim’s win by a slight margin. Some observers attributed the result to the sentiment within the party against Ahn’s influence.

Park Jie-won, Joo’s predecessor who will run for the party’s leadership in the January convention, does not appear to welcome the result, either, as the party could choose a leader who does not have a regional background in the Jeolla region. Separately, the party elected fourth-term lawmaker Cho Bae-sook (Iksan B, North Jeolla Province) as head of its policymaking committee.

Hyung-Jun Hwang constant25@donga.com