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Seoul mayor joins main opposition

Move comes day after son was cleared of draft-dodging allegation


Seoul Mayor Park Won-soon joined the main opposition Democratic United Party Thursday, a move expected to boost the party’s position before the April general elections.

It came a day after his son was cleared of draft dodging suspicions and his accuser, Rep. Kang Yong-seok, offered to resign.

“Our goal for 2012 is not too different from what we meant to achieve through last year’s mayoral by-election,” Park said.

“The people shall change the parliament and the president through their votes.”

He thus pledged to play his role as party member and mayor and as such help the DUP create the necessary political changes.

“It has taken me a long time to make the decision (to join the party) as I had to ask for the understanding of those who supported me in last year’s by-election,” he also said.
Seoul Mayor Park Won-soon (right) shakes hands with Democratic United Party chairperson Han Myeong-sook in a ceremony marking his entry into the party in Seoul on Thursday. (Park Hyun-koo/The Korea Herald)
Seoul Mayor Park Won-soon (right) shakes hands with Democratic United Party chairperson Han Myeong-sook in a ceremony marking his entry into the party in Seoul on Thursday. (Park Hyun-koo/The Korea Herald)

The activist-turned-mayor won a sweeping victory over high-profile ruling party candidate Na Kyung-won with the backing of the main opposition party and liberal civic groups.

He also mentioned professor Ahn Cheol-soo and the possibility of his entry into the DUP.

“I hope that people like Ahn will join the DUP and work to achieve political change,” he said.

The left-wing party was in a festive mood Thursday as the liberal mayor’s membership is considered a crucial factor in the upcoming parliamentary elections.

“At last, we have achieved a true union,” said chair Han Myeong-sook.

“With this momentum, we will correct the wrongdoings of the current administration and bring changes to society.”

With the addition of the Seoul mayor, together with that of South Gyeongsang Gov. Kim Doo-kwan who joined the party last week, the number of metropolitan and provincial government heads affiliated with the DUP rose to nine of 16.

Park also called on the party to push further changes and prove itself worthy of becoming the new ruling party.

“The DUP is yet to fully change in order to win, and to do so, it should open its ears to the people’s voice,” the mayor said.

“The key task for those in power is to revive the economy and design the people’s happiness, not to judge or defeat a rival political group.”

By Bae Hyun-jung (tellme@heraldcorp.com)
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