China expert pessimistic on N. Korea's 'diplomatic offensive'

Saenuri moderate elected speaker

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Published : 2014-05-23 20:18
Updated : 2014-05-23 20:18

Five-term lawmaker Rep. Chung Ui-hwa was selected as the National Assembly speaker candidate Friday, beating out former Saenuri Party chairman Rep. Hwang Woo-yea in a landslide win.

Chung, who will be confirmed as the speaker for the second half of the 19th National Assembly on Tuesday, took 101 of the 147 votes. Chung will replace Rep. Kang Chang-hee for a two-year term that ends with the 19th National Assembly.

Along with Chung, four-term lawmaker Rep. Jeong Kab-yoon was selected as the candidate for the vice speaker’s seat allocated to the ruling party. 
Chung Ui-hwa

Chung, who ran against Kang for the speaker’s position, is associated with the pro-Lee Myung-bak faction of the ruling party. However, he is said to have amiable relations with the rival pro-Park Geun-hye faction.

Chung is known for opposing the revisions to the National Assembly Act collectively referred to as the “National Assembly advancement act,” which was strongly promoted by Hwang. The ruling party, which led the revision, has since blamed the revisions for preventing smooth parliamentary operations and accused the opposition parties of abusing the changes.

His stance on the act is thought to have been crucial in bringing lawmakers to his cause. Hwang’s position within the pro-Park faction is also said to have played against the former party leader in light of the Sewol ferry accident.

Born in 1948, Chung was a doctor before entering politics in 1996. Since then he has served in prominent positions within the conservative party and the parliament, including that of vice speaker during the 18th National Assembly.

By Choi He-suk (cheesuk@heraldcorp.com)

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