Unified opposition also elects five leadership council members ahead of April general elections
Former Prime Minister Han Myeong-sook was elected chairperson of the new main opposition Democratic United Party at the party’s first national convention Sunday.
At the convention at KINTEX, Ilsan, the leading left-wing party selected its six-member Supreme Council from among nine candidates.
Han won 24.5 percent of the total and will lead the party through the general elections in April and possibly the presidential election in December.
The other five were Moon Sung-keun (16.68 percent), Park Young-sun (15.74 percent), Park Jie-won (11.97 percent), Lee In-young (9.99 percent) and Kim Boo-kyum (8.09 percent).
Moon received ardent support from non-party voters and former civic group figures, while’s Lee support enjoyed strong backing from young liberal voters.
“I solemnly accept the elected position as the first chairperson of the DUP,” said Han.
She also pledged to win the party’s victory in the upcoming elections.
“The journey to overturn the Lee Myung-bak government has officially started,” she said.
“This year shall be a turning point in the history of Korean politics.”
She also pledged to put an end to unfair in-party candidate nominations and let the people decide who is to represent them in elections.
Han was the nation’s first female prime minister under the previous liberal administration and also chaired the Roh Moo-hyun Foundation in 2009-2010.
She also fell just short of unseating then-Seoul Mayor Oh Se-hoon of the ruling Grand National Party in the 2010 election.
Shortly before the in-party race, the Roh aide was acquitted by an appellate court of long-pending allegations that she had taken bribes during her term as prime minister.
“I hope to lead our party to victory in the upcoming race and reform the politically biased prosecution,” Han said, after the court ruling.
In their final speeches, most of the nine candidates underlined their close ties with Kim Dae-jung and Roh Moo-hyun, the former liberal presidents.
They also hammered the Lee administration and the ruling party for their alleged irregularities but refrained from attacking the right-wing’s recent bribery scandal as the DUP has also faced similar vote-buying suspicions.
Several leveled their attacks at Rep. Park Geun-hye, provisional leader and leading presidential hopeful of the GNP.
“I am the ideal character to equally confront the GNP’s Park,” said Han.
The 67-year-old former prime minister and the 59-year-old daughter of the former President Park Chung-hee are considered the top female figures of the left-wing and right-wing camps.
On the other hand, the DUP’s policy committee chairperson Rep. Park Young-sun relied on her renowned debating skills and sound expertise in political policies.
“Park, having never truly sympathized with the people, only speaks for the privileged,” said the liberal Park, suggesting a “Park versus Park” open forum.
“I, however, shall represent the low-income and middle classes, which constitute 99 percent of our population.”
Rep. Kim Boo-kyum, third-term lawmaker in Gunpo, Gyeonggi Province, challenged for the parliamentary seat in Daegu, a traditional GNP stronghold and hometown to the GNP chief.
“The most intense battle in the upcoming general elections is to take place in Daegu,” said Kim.
“I shall give up all my vested rights to break down regionalism and to pioneer a new constituency for our party.”
Candidates also made efforts to appeal to the Korean Federation of Trade Unions, which rose as an influential factor within the party.
“I have been imprisoned three times for being involved in labor strikes and devoted my youth to the promotion of labor rights,” said Park Yong-jin, former member of the minority Democratic Labor Party.
The results were determined by reflecting votes by party members and citizens 70 percent and votes by delegates 30 percent.
The new voting rule, which acted in favor of civic group figures, were earlier confirmed by former Democratic Party chairman Rep. Sohn Hak-kyu and Citizens Integrated Party leader Lee Yong-seon during the merger negotiation talks.
A total of 598,124 non-party citizen voters cast their ballot throughout last week, among which 80 percent voted via the mobile system.
The former DP, in order to win an upper hand in this year’s elections, united last month with the civic group-based Citizen Integration Party.
By Bae Hyun-jung (email@example.com)
민주 한명숙 체제 출범..친노 전면에 포진
민주통합당(약칭 민주당) 새 대표에 한명숙(68) 후보가 선출됐다.
한 후보는 15일 오후 경기도 고양시 일산 킨텍스에서 열린 전당대회에서 종합 집계 결과 24.5%를 득표, 문성근(16.68%)ㆍ박영선(15.74%) 후보를 압도적인 표차로 누르고 1위를 차지했다.
한 후보는 이날 전당대회장에서 실시된 대의원 투표는 물론 사전에 진행된 모바 일ㆍ현장 투표에서도 모두 1위를 차지했다.
박지원(11.97%)ㆍ이인영(9.99%)ㆍ김부겸(8.09%) 후보도 4~6위로 최고위원으로 선출됐다.
이학영 후보는 7.0%, 이강래 후보는 3.73%, 박용진 후보는 2.76%를 얻는데 그쳐 최고위원 진출에 실패했다.
이번 지도부 선출을 위한 전당대회는 2만1천여명의 대의원들의 현장투표(30% 반 영)와 당원 12만명, 시민 65만명 등 77만명으로 구성된 시민ㆍ당원 선거인단 투표(7 0% 반영)를 합산해 이뤄졌다.
한 신임 대표는 수락연설에서 "민주통합당과 경선에 참여한 80만 시민의 이름으 로 국민을 무시하는 이명박 정권을 심판하는 승리의 대장정을 시작할 것"이라고 선 언한 뒤 "2012년은 구시대와 새시대를 가르는 역사의 분기점으로, 이명박 정권과 한 나라당을 과거에 묻고 대한민국의 새로운 미래를 창조할 것"이라고 말했다.
그는 "국민이 원하는 혁신과 변화를 할 것이며 어떤 기득권도 인정하지 않을 것 "이라며 "정책과 노선을 혁신하고 과감한 인적 쇄신으로 변화를 열망하는 국민의 기 대에 부응할 것"이라고 강조했다.
한 대표는 "민심을 담고 시민의 참여를 담을 수 있는 열린 정당, 소통하는 정당 이 되겠다"며 SNS특보단 구성 등 온라인 정당 구현을 위한 노력을 강조하고 "진보정 당과의 통합 및 선거연대를 위한 협의기구를 곧 제안할 것"이라고 덧붙였다.
한 대표의 압도적 승리는 민주당내 구(舊) 민주당 및 시민통합당 지지층들로부 터 그의 화합형 리더십이 양측간 화학적 결합을 통해 4ㆍ11 총선과 12월 대선 승리 를 이끌어내는데 최적이라는 평가를 받은 것으로 받아들여진다.
한 대표는 금주 중 총선기획단을 발족하고 이달 내 공천심사위원회를 구성하는 등 곧바로 당을 총선체제로 전환할 방침으로 전해졌다.
아울러 한나라당이 비상대책위원회를 중심으로 인적 쇄신을 포함한 뼈를 깎는 개혁에 나설 가능성이 높은 만큼 한 대표 역시 공천혁신 등 강도높은 쇄신에 나서면 서 정치권 전반의 쇄신 경쟁도 가열될 것으로 관측돼 주목된다. (연합뉴스)