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Will Ex-Justice Minister Run for Mayor?

Posted January. 12, 2006 03:01,   


Will former Justice Minister Kang Keum-sil run for the Seoul mayor position as a Uri Party candidate?

Kang has so far been adamant that she will never enter politics. However, her stance has been said to be changing little by little recently. The ruling party members’ eyes are now on her choice.

On Monday, Kang lunched in Seocho-gu, Seoul, with Kim Hyuk-kyu, chairman of the Local Election Human Resources Discovery Planning Board of the Uri Party. Kim has wanted to meet with Kang since late last year but had been turned down several times before finally meeting Kang on Monday.

At the lunch, Kang was asked a number of times to run. It is said that she answered, “I think life comes with some destiny. I had never imagined I would become a justice minister. I also think there might be a roadmap for life already set out for a person when he or she is born. I will give you an answer soon after having some time to think.” This means Kang’s stance has tilted from “I will never run” towards “I will think about it.”

Kim said, “I persuaded the former minister that the ‘Seoul mayor is virtually the second most important position following the president. This is a great opportunity since there is no candidate within the Uri Party to compete against after the party’s tumbling in the approval rating.’ I guess it is a positive signal that she said she would think about it.”

Kang’s aides of course say “nothing has changed.” A source close to Kang said, “At lunch, Ms. Kang mostly smiled and listened to what Mr. Kim had to say. Upon the Seoul mayoral election issue, she never said clearly that she would or would not run.”

Another source said, “Up until late last year, she said ‘I will never enter politics,’ but recently she doesn’t seem as negative about it. When there is talk of the issue, she just smiles.”

In-Jik Cho cij1999@donga.com