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Local Heads Resign to Run for National Assembly

Posted December. 11, 2007 03:09,   


With the deadline, December 11, for applications for the 18th general elections scheduled to be held on April 9 next year approaching, a growing number of local government heads are turning in their resignations.

Shin Dong-woo (54, Grand National Party), head of Gangdong-gu, Seoul, announced on Monday that he would resign from his post as of December 11 in order to run in the general election next year. Shin submitted his resignation to the Gangdong ward assembly on the same day.

“I am sorry for my ward residents, but I felt some limitations as a ward head. I’d like to contribute to the development of the ward as a lawmaker,” said Shin. He is reportedly running for the seat representing the Gangdong-Eul district, which is now occupied by lawmaker Lee Sang-gyeong of the United New Democratic Party.

A by-election to fill the vacancy coming from the resignation of Shin will be held on June 4 next year; until then, Choi Yong-ho, the vice head of the ward, will replace him on an interim basis.

Lee Hak-jae (43), head of Incheon Seo-gu and who is affiliated with the GNP, also expressed his desire to run in the general elections on the same day and tendered his resignation to the ward assembly. The Seo-gu district is currently taken over by lawmaker Kim Gyo-heung of the UNDP.

Before the moves, Ha Yeong-je (53), head of Namhae-gun, Gyeongnam, Kang Seok-jin (48), head of Geochang-gun, Gyeongnam, and Park Yun-guk (51), mayor of Pocheon-si, Gyeonggi, all of whom are affiliated with the GNP, said they intended to step down from office. Hot competition for nominations is expected, as the incumbent lawmakers in those election districts are all GNP members.

Head of Namhae-gun Ha Yeong-jae is expected to compete with Rep. Park Hui-tae (69), senior advisor of the GNP central election committee, head of Geochang-gun Kang Seok-jin is expected to compete with Lee Kang-du (70), a four-term lawmaker, and mayor Park Yun-guk is expected to compete with Rep. Goh Jo-heung (55), respectively. Masan City Mayor Hwang Cheol-gon (53, GNP), who was elected three times and will finish his term in 2010, is highly likely to join the election after resignation, according to a report. Mayor Hwang plans to announce his official position before noon today.

Citizens are not pleased with local government heads who desert their posts when over half of their tenure is left. Kim Do-yun, a citizen in Seongnae-dong, Gangdong-gu, said, “The expenses needed for the by-election will come from the local government. It doesn’t make sense that taxpayers should foot the bill to satisfy local heads’ ambitions.”