South Korea’s People Power Party chosen 36-year old Lee Jun-seok as its chairman Friday, making him the youngest-ever pioneer of a significant political party in the country’s history. Photo by Yonhap
SEOUL, June 11 (UPI) — South Korea’s main opposition People Power Party announced 36-year-old Lee Jun-seok because its chairman on Friday, making him the youngest-ever leader of a major political party in the nation’s history.
Lee, an entrepreneur and Harvard graduate who hasn’t held elected office, defeated his nearest rival, four-term lawmaker Na Kyung-won, by a vote of 43.8percent to 37.1% at the party’s national convention. The elections used a combined form of voting from party members and opinion polls from the public.
In his acceptance address, Lee stressed”coexistence” with all the various factions inside the conservative party ahead of the presidential elections in March 2022.
“Our top task is to win the presidential election, and in the process, we will create a party that can coexist with its supporters,” he said.
Lee added that the celebration ought to be”tolerant of young people expressing their opinions.”
“We must be reborn as a more attractive party,” Lee, who’s staked a position for a reformer, said.
South Korean President Moon Jae-in, who departed for Britain on Friday afternoon for a guest in the Group of Seven leaders’ summit, congratulated Lee by phone, the presidential Blue House said in a statement sent to reporters.
Moon said Lee’s win would “go down in political history,” according to the statement.
“I think it a indication of change not only in politics but also in South Korea [as a whole],” he said.
Mayoral by-elections held in April showed a major demographic shift in the country’s political arena, with young men in their twenties — a progressive-leaning bloc — turning out in large majorities for People Power Party candidates, who swept to overwhelming victories in Seoul and Busan.
Anger over problems like soaring property costs, economic inequality and a land speculation scandal at state housing developer LH have helped turn public opinion against the ruling Democratic Party. Among young men, a backlash against rising feminism in South Korea has also been simmering for years, leading to more conservative voting patterns.
A poll by pollster Realmeter released earlier this week found the PPP’s approval rating at 38 percent, while