The ruling Saenuri Party confirmed Tuesday its list of proportional candidates, prioritizing scientists and minority figures in a show of resolve to embrace social diversity and shed its image as a party favoring the upper echelon.
Party leader Rep. Park Geun-hye was given the number 11 spot, despite speculation that she would be named first.
Chung Hong-won, chairman of the party’s nomination screening panel, announced the 46 figures nominated for a parliamentary seat in proportion to the party’s results in the April 11 general elections.
The No. 1 ticket was given to Min Byung-joo, a female researcher at the Korea Atomic Energy Research Institute, a move reflecting the party’s earlier pledges to boost scientific development and women’s rights.
“Min has devoted herself to atomic research over the past 20 years,” said Chung.
“She was a pioneer who overcame the longstanding gender prejudices in her field of work.”
Another female scientist in the list was Shin Eui-jin, a medical professor at Yonsei Severance Hospital. Shin took care of the victims of two high-profile sex crime cases, one at Gwangju Inhwa School, and the other known as the Cho Doo-soon case.
Also, a North Korean defector made it into the right-wing party’s list for the first time.
Cho Myung-chul, who was ranked fourth in the list, was a former professor at Pyongyang’s Kim Il-sung University and is currently head of the Education Center for Unification under the Unification Ministry.
Lee Jasmine, a TV celebrity from Philippines, also showed up in the list. Lee has been active in the local immigrant society and has recently starred as a multicultural family housewife in a movie.
“She has greatly contributed to promoting the rights of multicultural citizens here despite the sorrow of losing her husband in an accident,” said Chung.
However, Seok Hae-kyun was not included, despite earlier speculations. Seok is the former captain of the 11,500-ton merchant ship Samho Jewelry, which was abducted by Somali pirates last year.
Though the party’s list showed a variety of people, some nevertheless claimed that it was impartial as only one among the 46 figures was from the Honam region.
Other candidates on the list include Lee Elisa, a professor of Yongin University, and Lee Man-woo, a Korea University professor.
Others also said that several of the scholars in the list were in fact close aides to party leader Park.
“Rep. Park has urged the committee to prioritize those who may actually contribute to the party,” said Chung.
“Considering that she needed to acquire a parliamentary seat for the sake of the party, we placed her as eleventh in the line.”
The main opposition Democratic United Party, too, announced its proportional candidate list in the afternoon.
Candidates are to register themselves to the National Election Commission on Thursday and Friday.
By Bae Hyun-jung (firstname.lastname@example.org