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Pres. Lee Makes Surprise Phone Calls to Lawmakers

Posted August. 18, 2009 06:31,   


A lawmaker in the Seoul metropolitan area yesterday said he was greatly surprised by a recent phone call from President Lee Myung-bak.

The president said, “I’m keeping close track of your activities through the media. I appreciate your efforts.”

The two men also exchanged ideas on pending political issues.

The lawmaker said he was also surprised when he heard other ruling Grand National Party members newly elected to parliament also received calls from the president. They included not only those backing the chief executive but also members of the alliance supporting former Party Chairwoman Park Geun-hye.

President Lee has faced criticism for not paying attention to “National Assembly” politics, with many ruling party lawmakers complaining that he is indifferent to political issues. In addition, they said they cannot take advantage of being ruling party members who traditionally enjoyed many opportunities to discuss political agenda directly with the president.

Thus President Lee’s recent phone calls to newly elected lawmakers took many by surprise.

The ruling party welcomed his attempt to get closer to its lawmakers. A newly elected lawmaker in the Seoul metropolitan area said, “I heard President Lee has been making surprise phone calls to Grand National Party lawmakers since last month. I interpret this action as a positive sign that he has begun to take interest in parliamentary politics.”

Another ruling party lawmaker said, “We’ve been asking each other whether we received phone calls from the president. This shows how much attention his calls have attracted among party lawmakers. It seems he’s making greater efforts to get closer to us.”

The mood is ripening for reconciliation between intra-party factions in the aftermath of the passage of media revision laws. Expectation is also rising that President Lee will provide stronger support to the party ahead of the regular parliamentary session by enhancing communication with party lawmakers.

Others also interpret the sudden phone calls as a sign that more ruling party lawmakers will claim key positions in the upcoming Cabinet reshuffle.