Rookies join parliament as proportional representatives

By Korea Herald
  • Published : Apr 12, 2012 - 19:56
  • Updated : Apr 12, 2012 - 19:57

The purpose of the proportional representative system is to recruit political rookies from specialist fields and minority groups.

This year, parties especially focused on discovering new potentials among non-politicians to achieve renewal and win back the public’s trust prior to the year-end presidential election.

The ruling Saenuri Party, amid its renewal efforts, selected a number of scientific experts and minority group figures.

The main opposition Democratic United Party, on the other hand, preferred public figures from the labor and welfare fields.

The Saenuri’s No. 1 ticket was given to Min Byung-joo, a female researcher at the Korea Atomic Energy Research Institute. The selection largely reflected the party’s earlier pledge to boost scientific development and women’s rights.

Shin Eui-jin, a medical professor at Yonsei Severance Hospital, was another female scientist on the list.

The doctor became a public figure as she took care of the victims of the high-profile Gwangju Inhwa School and Cho Doo-soon sex crime cases.

A North Korean defector, too, won a seat for the Saenuri Party.

Cho Myung-chul 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.

Representing minority groups and multicultural families is Jasmine Lee, originally from the Philippines. Lee has been active in local immigrant circles and recently starred as an immigrant wife in a movie.

Other candidates elected from the list include Lee Elisa, a professor of Yongin University, Lee Man-woo, a Korea University professor and of course, party chairperson Rep. Park Geun-hye.

The DUP, on the other hand, gave its top spot to Jun Soon-ok, sister of deceased democracy fighter Jeon Tae-il.

Her brother self-immolated in 1970, protesting the poor working conditions in urban factories. His act triggered nationwide movements which resulted in the improvement of the labor environment.

The liberal party’s list also included Eun Su-mi, researcher at the Korea Labor Institute and Hong Jong-hak, economics professor who has led conglomerate reform policies.

Party leader Han Myeong-sook also made it into the parliament, though it is speculated that she is to renounce her chairmanship, taking responsibility for the left-wing’s poor performance in the elections.

Ryu Si-min, one of the joint leaders of the minority Unified Progressive Party, failed to win his proportional seat.

By Bae Hyun-jung (