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Seoul Mayor Says He Will Accept Party’s Choice for Presidency

Seoul Mayor Says He Will Accept Party’s Choice for Presidency

Posted October. 14, 2005 07:36,   


With his popularity soaring thanks to the restoration of Cheonggyecheon, Seoul Mayor Lee Myung-bak clarified speculation that he will bolt from the Grand National Party and run for the presidency if he fails to be chosen in a competition within the party.

“I will accept the outcome of competition within the party," he said.

His comments took place at debate organized by the Kwanhun Club, a group of senior journalists, at the Korea Press Center in Seoul. He also said that he prefers the competition as a way to choose presidential candidates, and that it is common sense to accept the competition results.

Lee emphasized the time when he was dropped from the list of Seoul mayoral candidates in 1995 over an “unfairness controversy” that he yielded to the outcome for the sake of the party, even crying out loud with his young supporters.

Nonetheless, as the questions over whether to accept the competition outcome continued, he pointed out that the political circle and media don’t seemed to have recovered from the shock of Lee In-je not having accepted the competition outcome in the past.

Regarding Park Geun-hye, who is a strong rival for the presidency within the party, he valued her as someone who doesn’t lag behind the previous presidents in almost all aspects, and as someone who has shown better leadership than male representatives did when the party was in trouble. However, he didn’t miss an opportunity to criticize her, saying that “the way she dealt with the issue of relocating an administrative capital disappointed me.”

Regarding the criticism that he severely pushes things through like a bulldozer, he countered, saying that “the speed at which I proceeded with the restoration project of Cheonggyecheon was not too fast, and the way was not arbitrary from the viewpoint of global CEOs, and only ineffective political circles think it’s too fast.”

When it comes to a revision of the constitution, he said that “it is not proper to amend the constitution in this administration and that, if necessary, candidates for the presidency could make public pledges about that and the people should decide.”

Regarding a possible reshuffling of the current power arrangement, he maintained his existing stance that the presidential system is desirable, saying that the Korean people have yet to have good enough president, but that if such President is elected, the system works best in a historical and cultural framework.

About the construction plan of Gyeongbu canal which he presented, he contended, “Developed countries make the best of their rivers and seas,” and added, “At regardless of making a public pledge on it, it is a national agenda that somebody should seriously review to strengthen Korea’s global competitiveness.”

Jung-Eun Lee lightee@donga.com